Fall foliage update

NOW: Fall foliage update

It's now October 20th, and most of Michiana's trees are still green. This is a big difference compared to where we were last October.

The video above shows some footage from Nate's Dronography, taken on October 14, 2020 in Berrien County. The beautiful reds and oranges in last year's video have yet to make an appearance in Michiana for fall 2021.

Here are a few photos I took on a recent hike (as one does on a 70 degree mid-October afternoon).

All the leaves are green along this hiking trail at Madeline Bertrand County Park in Berrien County. Taken on October 19.

A few leaves starting to turn colors along the river, but most of them are still green.

There are some patches of fall colors amidst the green leaves, but overall, we haven't noticed a big change from summer foliage.

This is a breathtaking difference from where we were at this time last year.

Look at this comparison of photos from our morning anchor, Jennifer Lee. She took photos of the same tree on October 16, 2020 and on October 19, 2021.

Left: October 2020Right: October 2021 Jennifer Lee

It's incredible to see such a difference in leaf color from one year to the next. No sign of these beautiful yellow leaves just yet this year.

Weather plays a big role in this process. Leaves are green over the summer because they produce chlorophyll. The plant knows to continue making chlorophyll as long as it is warm. In the fall, when temperatures typically start to cool, the plants stop making this chemical.

In place of the green chlorophyll, you'll see chemicals that produce other colors - the reds, oranges, and yellows that happen in the fall. For example, orange leaves happen when the plant makes carotene.

This fall has been much warmer than normal. The month of October so far has been about ten degrees above normal.

For humans, this means warmer, possibly more pleasant, fall visits to the pumpkin patch and apple orchard. For our trees, it can be confusing. They aren't getting the signal yet to stop producing chlorophyll.

The peak of fall color has been pushed back. We'll likely enjoy some of the changing leaves closer to Halloween this year, especially now that cool air is on the way in the forecast to end the week.

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