Foliage Report

2017 Current Foliage Report: September 19

Region: Adirondacks
Reporting Station: Lake Placid/High Peaks
Percent of trees changed: 85% in higher elevations of the High Peaks, 60% in the village area
Brilliance: Moderate
Predominating colors: Expect to see oranges, yellows, golds, maroons and reds! 
Rating: Midpoint in the lower areas and near peak in the mountain elevations. 

Past Foliage Reports:

September 12
Percent of trees changed: 35%
Brilliance: average
Predominating colors: Colors are beginning to pop. reds, oranges, yellows.
Rating: Just beginning, yet quickly changing 

September 7
Percent of trees changed: 5%
Brilliance: average
Predominating colors: oranges, green
Rating: just the start

Autumn Comes Early in the Adirondacks

The fall foliage season in the Adirondacks is fast approaching. We're experiencing warm autumn days with cool nights (dipping to the mid-30s to low 40s) that start the vibrant color change we look for in deciduous trees and shrubs. In the High Peaks Region around Lake Placid, peak foliage viewing typically occurs during the last two weeks of September while the autumn colors bloom later in the lower elevations along Lake Champlain and parts of Hamilton County.

Changing Colors

So, you’ve probably asked yourself the age-old question, “Why do the leaves change color and what is the timing?”  Every autumn we’re asked this question numerous times in our Visitor Center. 

Green leaves are green because of the pigment called chlorophyll. It is produced by capturing solar rays and using that energy to make the plant’s food, which is basically simple sugars. They are the only source of carbohydrates, which are the basis of a plant’s growth and development. Since there is so much chlorophyll in the leaves during the growing season, the predominant color of the leaf is green, although the other colors are really there, just not visible as the green is so dominant.

Late in the summer season, the hours of daylight shorten and air temperatures become cooler. The veins in the leaves slowly close off at the base, reducing the fluid intake to the leaf. During this period, chlorophyll levels gradually decrease, and the leaf slowly loses the green pigment, allowing the other colors to become visible.  Voila! Spectacular fall foliage. Some years the color is more brilliant than others with differing dominant colors from year to year.  Lots of factors influence this, including average rainfall, which seems like a major factor. The beauty of this variance is that it’s always a surprise and we never know what it will truly look like from year to year. So come, enjoy the surprise!

Ready to come explore the awesome Adirondack autumn? We're ready to help you plan! Check out our lodging, dining, and event pages then head to the ADK this fall!

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