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CT got hit hard by rain this summer. Here's what that means for fall foliage

Fall Foliage in Connecticut
John Greim
Getty Images
Fall Foliage in Connecticut

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Experts say Connecticut’s leaf-peeping season will begin and peak a little later this year due to the heavy rainfall earlier this summer.

Heavy rainfall means healthier green leaves that will take longer to die, said Thomas Worthley, associate extension professor for the University of Connecticut’s Forestry Extension Program. This means a later start to the fall season and a more gradual change.

“The annual senescence is dependent on three things: air temperature, moisture availability, and the amount of sunlight during the day,” Worthley said. “Some species of trees are more sensitive to one thing than another.”

While it’s too early to know for certain what the temperature and sunlight levels will be, the summer's excess moisture improves the health of leaves that will now take longer to change color in the fall.

“There might not be quite as much red in some places,” Worthley said. “I think we'll probably see brighter yellows and oranges.”

Aside from a longer leaf-peeping season, he said this is good news for air quality.

“It’s the green leaves that are important,” Worthley said. “There's trillions of little oxygen factories out there that draw carbon out of the atmosphere, and give us oxygen in return.”

Worthley said it is still too early to tell exactly when Connecticut’s peak foliage will hit — that will be easier to determine after northern New Hampshire and Vermont experience their own peaks.