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How will Kentucky’s weather affect our fall foliage this year?

Published: Sep. 24, 2020 at 3:40 PM EDT
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LEXINGTON, Ky. (WKYT) - It’s fall in Kentucky and soon trees all over the region will be changing colors. While some trees change earlier than others, weather plays a big role in just how vibrant this colors can be.

While we all love seeing those vibrant fall colors on our trees during this time of year, there is actually a lot that can affect it. According to Darren Morris, an extension forester with the University of Kentucky, those effects can even go all the way back starting in the spring.

“We just need a good start to the spring, with good warm days, plenty of moisture, a healthy start to the leaves," Morris said.

Then through summer, he says it’s best to avoid any extreme heat or drought-like conditions. Come fall, we need to avoid windstorms that could knock leaves off earlier, otherwise Morris says the cool nights help finish off those vibrant colors.

“We need to maintain cooler October days, some nice cool crispy nights would be helpful, and if we could get a little bit of rain between now and then that would also help with the Fall colors," Morris said.

So how has our weather stacked up for the fall color change? Well, Morris says he actually has some good news. “It looks like we’re going to go into the month of October with a really good chance of having good fall colors this year,” he said.

While typically the peak of fall foliage colors don’t arrive until mid-to-late October here in the commonwealth, Morris says there will be several trees that get an early start. Some of those include the Buckeye, Black Walnut, Sycamore, and others.

Morris says some of the best areas to see fall colors in Kentucky are along several trails that lead to overlooks or ridges where you can see the rolling hills, such as the Red River Gorge.

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