Fall colors coming in earlier and brighter
2012 weather creates an early start to fall foliage peak
SHOREWOOD - September may have just ended but if you take a walk outside you may think it's mid-October, that's because the fall colors are peaking early this year.
"We woke up this morning and we just noticed how beautiful it is out and we just had to be outside," Debbie Mellor tells TODAY'S TMJ4's Jesse Ritka and she's not alone. From bikers to fishermen, folks just can't get enough of the vibrant colors in southeast Wisconsin.
But the color change seems to be ahead of schedule this year. Certified arborist, Bob Gansemer at Buckley Tree Care Specialists, attributes the brilliant leaf change to our unusual weather, "Growing degree days, accumulation of temperatures has caused these trees to probably think it's a couple weeks later than it is according to the calendar."
Our mild winter, early spring and incredibly dry summer are being reflected in the flaming reds and bright yellows nearly two to three weeks early.
The drought may have left our lawns brown and colorless this summer but it certainly is painting a much more vibrant picture this fall. "Drought will cause trees, particularly the red colors to show up a little more readily so that's why I'm thinking we're going to have a very bright fall here with the colors," explains Gansemer.
But some spots are already there: northwest Wisconsin is close to 100% full peak color, the northeast is near 70% and most of southern Wisconsin is already close to 50% peak leaf color.
So Gansemer recommends checking the fall foliage now, "You probably want to get out and enjoy it here soon rather than waiting." Even though Debbie Mellor didn't need an arborist to tell her that, "How could you not love it here?"
If you want to be sure you'll be able to enjoy the fall colors next year however, Gansemer advises you to remember we are still experiencing a drought, "When we get rain, everybody forgets about the drought, but there's a long term impact on the trees and shrubs, so watering your trees and shrubs through the fall to help them get through the winter."
But with the colors coming faster this year, trees could have bare branches earlier as well, it all depends on the weather.
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