Herald-Whig

Are there any fall foliage quality forecasts?

A tree in Clat Adams Bicentennial park in Quincy shows brilliant fall colors in this 2013 file photo. Though there is no go-to location for fall foliage forecasts, drought and higher temperatures are expected to cause a down year for fall color. | H-W File Photo/MIke Kipley
By Herald-Whig
Posted: Oct. 14, 2017 12:01 am

Are there any fall foliage quality forecasts? I can find plenty of calendars estimating when colors should peak, but nothing concrete that correlates rainfall, temperature, tree type, etc. to how intense the colors will be. Seems that we have forecasts for everything, yet each year I hear people ask, "I wonder if we'll have a good fall this year for colors?" Any idea?

There's really no go-to place for fall foliage forecasts, though the Missouri Department of Natural Resources does provide fall colors reports on its website. The National Weather Service fall color's guide sends visitors to various state sites for reports.

A great year is not expected in the Midwest.

Chip Tynan, who manages the horticulture answering service for the Missouri Botanical Garden, said drought has created premature leaf loss on many trees.

"We're staying above normal temperatures, and we're not getting the cool, crisp days and cool nights that are hovering just above freezing that's necessary to bring about the best color," Tynan said.

The effects of emerald ash borers will also hit fall foliage.

"In areas where it has devastated the ash trees, they're going to eliminate the lovely yellow color we get from green ash and the beautiful orange and purple we get from white ash," Tynan said. "That insect will play a role in the diminishment of fall color for generations to come."

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