Fall Colors in Maine

October 06, 2000


Provided by: Maine Fall Foliage 2000
Summary authors & editors: Jim Foster

The fall colors are now at peak or just past peak across the northern tier of states, and in the Rockies, the Sierra Nevada and the Cascade Mountains. In the northeast, Middle Atlantic area and around the Great Lakes, since the temperatures have been cool and the precipitation adequate to moist, it's hoped that the colors will be more vibrant than they have during the past few autumns. The colors may be somewhat muted in the west because of the dry, hot weather conditions experienced this summer. However, there's no exact formula for determining what the fall foliage will look like and when the colors will peak. Length of day, sugar accumulations in the leaves, wind, frosts, and percentage of sunshine, all play some role in the changing leaf colors. When the chlorophyll (green) pigments begin to wane as autumn progresses, the other pigments such as carotenoids (oranges and yellows) and anthocyanins (reds), which are always present in leafs but overwhelmed by the chlorophyll, come into their own. On this photo, the reds are sugar maples and scarlet oaks, and the yellows are birches and ashes.

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