The amazing week of September weather continues today with more sunshine, light winds and highs reaching for the 80F this afternoon. As humidity levels continue to be low this will be another flawless day. More of the same is predicted for tomorrow. As temperatures cool each night there could be some patchy ground fog each morning but that will quickly burn away an hour or so after sunrise. A cold front will cross the region in the early morning hours of Saturday and usher in more fall-like temperatures for the weekend and early next week. I’d love to hear your thoughts and your questions about this blog or any others. Please follow me on Twitter at @growingwisdom and check out my latest videos at GrowingWisdom.com
High pressure normally brings dry and sunny weather to the region and this week we have been under the influence of a very large high pressure area. This high has brought warm temperatures and sparkling blue skies the past several days and will continue to be our main weather maker the rest of the week. The high is very large and very strong and this is why we have enjoyed so many days of weather perfection.
On Friday, we will watch a front approach our region from the west. The front will be far enough away during the day to give the region one more warm day with highs near 80F. You will also notice a bit of humidity in the afternoon. The front will get closer Friday night with clouds increasing. This cold front, marked in blue, divides warm air from cooler autumn air to the north and west of the front. As the front pushes through early Saturday morning temperatures will fall and there may be a thunderstorm.
The front will leave the region by mid-morning Saturday and skies will become mostly sunny. Temperatures on Saturday will be cooler with highs remaining in the mid 70s for the afternoon. Saturday night will be dry and cooler. If you leave the windows open you might need an extra blanket by Sunday morning. Sunday will also be sunny but with a fallish feel to the air. Temperatures will be in the 60s much of the day although I expect the temperature to reach the lower 70s for a couple of hour around 2PM.
Gardening this week
I wanted to give you a tour of the garden at it’s peak this week so we went around with the camera and took shots of some of my favorite spots in the garden. I hope you enjoy it.
I’d love to hear your thoughts on this blog or any others. Please follow me on Twitter at @growingwisdom and check out my latest videos at GrowingWisdom.com
The foliage season ahead
What do the leaves change?
The leaves of plants are food making machines. They gather light, carbon dioxide (C02) and water and convert that to food for the plant. In addition to the food, the leaves give off oxygen for us to breathe. (Interestingly carbon dioxide levels of the entire planet go up in the winter and down in the summer. This predictable pattern is related to the foliage coming out and dropping.)
The food making process in the leaves is known as photosynthesis and it’s what keeps the plants growing. Deciduous plants, those that lose their leaves in fall, stop making food as the days get shorter. As the leaves die, chlorophyll is also no longer made. Chlorophyll is what gives the leaves their green hue and masks the reds, yellows and orange underneath. Once the leaves begin to shut down for the winter, the lack of chlorophyll allows us to enjoy the “true” colors of the leaves each autumn.
How good will the color be this year?
The health of the tree and especially the leaves, is a big factor in seeing vibrant colors. A wet summer allows the leaves to often be covered with disease. The result is that the colors end up more muted and dull. If we have a prolonged summer drought the leaves often fall early seeming to just dry up without much color. This year, we started spring with a drought and very warm weather. As the leaves emerged it turned cold and a bit wet, there was even some frost damage in May. June ended up being a below normal month of temperatures, the first such month in a year. The rest of the summer featured fairly typical weather with adequate rainfall and breaks in the heat. The western part of New England, especially the Berkshires has experienced some drought.
Where there is severe drought, especially in the Midwest, the color will definitely be negatively impacted this year. The general health the trees this year looks to be in good shape. Of course there are trees with disease however, I believe we are in good shape heading into the foliage season. The sweet spot for spectacular foliage seems to be a dry but not too dry late summer, cool nights, mild to warm days and not much wind. We seem to be getting that type of weather over the past few weeks and certainly again this week.
I do believe that the leaves coming out early and the weather on the drier and warmer side of average will help tip the scale toward a stellar foliage season as opposed to a dull one. Things that can impact this forecast would be several days of rainy cool weather, very windy weather in early October or very cold and even snowy weather with the leaves still on the trees.
When is peak?
The term peak doesn’t mean it’s the best time for viewing. I think the best color is when we are at about 50%-60% color and still have some green on the trees and less leaf drop. This is somewhat a personal an arbitrary opinion. By the time we get to the official peak week, there can be a lot of leaves on the ground. The maps below show where we are now, where we were last year in a couple of weeks and the average dates of peak foliage. I think we will be about 7-10 days early this year as compared to the average.