Expert expects spectacular fall foliage season

SOUTH KINGSTOWN, R.I. (WPRI) — Autumn is on the horizon, and weather conditions in Southern New England could make for one of the best fall foliage seasons in years.

Some trees in the region are already changing color, which according to Keith Killingbeck of the University of Rhode Island, is normal. He said the real color change is coming, and this year’s foliage season could be amazing.

Days are getting shorter and trees are now producing less chlorophyl, the chemical that makes leaves green.

“When that chlorophyl is broken down, the colors below that are unmasked and we see those,” Killingbeck explained.

Soon, the oak, maple, and birches will be turning orange, red, and yellow. While the colors of the past few years have been muted by tropical storms and too much moisture, this year is expected to be extraordinary. Killingbeck said the trees are in great shape right now.

“As long as we don’t get tremendous wind, salt spray, lots of heavy rain that might wash some of those colors out of there, it should be great,” he added.

If we get many sunny days and cool nights in the weeks ahead, the colors should be much more vibrant than in recent years.

“Colors are always wonderful, no matter what they do,” said Killingbeck. “I think the change of those colors being a lot better than last year is pretty high at this point.”

Peak foliage in Southern New England is mid-October, but the fall colors can be seen right into early November.

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