It's beginning to look a lot like autumn
Perhaps nothing is a clearer sign of fall than when the leaves change. Our Sarah Blazonis talked with a foliage expert and has more on what you can expect this season.
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ONONDAGA COUNTY, N.Y. -- Whatever the season, David and Carol Jones are frequent visitors to Green Lakes State Park. Lately, they say there's no denying it, change is in the air.
"You can see it. The higher you go, the prettier the colors are," said David Jones, a Clinton resident.
"Obviously the trees, the air, the smell. Everything just means fall," said Carol Jones, a Clinton resident.
Autumn's signature trademark arrived slightly earlier this year thanks to lack of rain and recent cool temperatures.
This year's dry summer means that as leaves reach their peak, foliage watchers are likely to see more bright reds and purples than in years that saw less rainfall. But, experts say when it comes to precipitation, there's a fine line between colorful and colorless.
"We're just not getting the basic rainfall that we need, and every time we get close to it, for some reason it just goes all around us," said Donald J. Leopold, distinguished teaching professor and chair of the Department of Environmental and Forest Biology at SUNY ESF.
Leopold says without significant rainfall, the foliage season could see an early end for some trees.
"Typical reaction, the trees will simply drop their leaves, they'll brown up," he said.
Leopold says this early loss of leaves can signal trouble for other species that don't hold up well in dry conditions, but says trees will be fine in the long run.
"The worst year of fall color in Central New York is a lot better than the best years in the Midwest and other places," said Leopold. "We have so many tree species that are just spectacular during the fall. I'll be very surprised if it's still not a fall that we can get real excited about."
And with foliage not expected to reach its peak until the last half of October, there will be plenty of time to enjoy the colors that do develop.