U.P. fall color outlook 2023

fall colors
fall colors(wluc)
Published: Sep. 14, 2023 at 8:28 AM EDT
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As we get closer to the fall season patches of colors are already popping up. Leaves change color when days become shorter with less daylight. This causes the production of Chlorophyll in trees to end leaving behind other chemicals like Xanthophyls, Carotenoids, and Anthocyanins. These are attributed to the yellow, orange, and red colors in the fall.

Ideal conditions for bright and bold colors are when days are sunny, dry, and mild with cool nights in September and October.

So far the beginning of September started with a hot stretch of weather. However, since last week we’ve had notable cooler and wetter. As of now, we will have a stretch of seasonal days with a brief warm-up towards the fourth weekend of the month.

There are a few other weather conditions, which can impact fall colors. One of them being drought conditions. We’ve had drought conditions expand across the western U.P. and along the Wisconsin state line since June. Drought conditions can cause leaves to change earlier with more dull colors. The color season could also be shorter in those areas.

Near average precipitation is ideal, which we’ve had in many areas across the U.P. This keeps trees healthy and prevents an early change allowing for a longer stretch of fall colors.

Temperatures in September are also important for a great color display. Hot spells will delay the change and can cause more dull colors. While cold spells speed up the process causing leaves to drop faster.

We’re expecting colors to reach the peak in the western U.P. at the end of the month through the first week of October. The central counties will range between the first and second week of October. The eastern counties will be around the second week. Stay tuned for the changes.