(WYTV) – If you’ve even glanced out your window, you’ve been hit with the striking colors of the leaves this fall. Our weather team has shown you that peak fall foliage is not far off.
Lynn Zocolo, an educator at Mill Creek Park who knows all about the leaves changing, talks about what causes them to change and which trees bring the brightest colors.
There’s one thing we always have to look forward to in the fall, even in the time of COVID-19: the leaves changing.
“They’re looking beautiful but we’re probably going to have to start raking soon,” Zocolo said.
Right now, we’re in what’s called “near peak,” where we have a lot of pops of color, but some of those green leaves are still hanging on.
Peak reds, yellows and oranges are just a few days away.
“So I’m betting by this weekend, beginning of next, we’re gonna be in peak foliage color,” Zocolo said.
Chlorophyll is what makes the leaves green. When fall rolls around, the chlorophyll goes away, and trees store moisture and energy in their trunks and branches.
“Shorter days, cooler nights. The trees know it’s time to shut off the leaves, time to get rid of them, time to save energy for winter,” Zocolo said.
Are the trees brighter than last year?
“It was a little bit more brown last year and I think it was a little bit later last year as well, but when you average out the hot summer days we had and the amount of rainfall we had, it was the perfect recipe for this beautiful fall,” Zocolo said.
Some of the most vibrant trees are the sugar maple, dogwood and sassafras.
Right now, people are taking advantage of the warm weather and Mill Creek Park being right outside their door.
“I think a lot of people have rediscovered the park and rediscovered just how much it means to the Valley as a whole,” Zocolo said.
But enjoy it now because peak foliage only lasts about a week, then the leaves fall into your yard and the trees are left bare.
“Get outside even if it’s just for a short walk in the park or your yard and look up, look down, look all around and just enjoy the season, it’s spectacular,” Zocolo said.