New England Travel

Yankee magazine predicts a late 2022 foliage season in southern New England

Due to drought, "things are not trending great in southern New England this year and urban centers."

Fall foliage in Boston during a previous year. Stan Grossfeld/Globe Staff

Fall foliage season in Boston may be late this year, according to Jim Salge, foliage expert for Yankee magazine.

Fall Foliage:

The publication released its first fall foliage forecast last week, with Salge predicting that this year’s foliage will be on time in northern New England, but trending toward late in southern New England due to extreme drought conditions.

“I’m really worried about Boston proper and the Blue Hills and the areas where it has just gotten so dry,” Salge said. “It’s extremely anomalously dry in those areas.”

“In and around Boston, you’ve seen so much browning on the urban trees, you’ve seen so much browning in the Blue Hills where it’s really rocky,” he said. “Things are not trending great in southern New England this year and urban centers.”


Drought can make for a brief, but very bright foliage display, Salge noted.

“A lot of reds are dominant in drought years,” he said.

Salge warned leaf peepers about “the backyard effect,” a term commonly used in the ski industry when snow is lacking in the cities and urban centers, so people forget how great the skiing can be in the mountains.

Similarly, if foliage is lacking in the city, don’t assume it’s not spectacular in the mountains, he said. Traveling may be necessary this year to witness nature’s best show, he said.

“The drought is far less severe in Northern New England and the traditional foliage areas,” Salge said.

Northern Maine and western Vermont are safe bets for great foliage, he said.

“I think you’re going to have a different world up there,” he said. “I think you’re going to have an absolutely beautiful foliage season in the far north that people might be missing because they keep hearing about the drought.”

The leaves will begin to change in late September in the northern White Mountains, northern Green Mountains, and the mountains of western Maine, Salge said.

“Then the big three-day weekend is a great weekend always across the northern New England states and then down into the Berkshires,” he said.


Peak foliage will happen in mid-to late October in southern New England, he said.

“I’d say, in Rhode Island and parts of Boston, we could be seeing the brief, bright punch into November, early November, this year, unless we get some cold air,” he said.

Folks can follow Yankee magazine’s peak foliage map as they plan their fall activities, he said.


This discussion has ended. Please join elsewhere on