Fall Foliage Season Is Fast Approaching 

Wayne Harvey

Labor Day has come and gone, and the summer tourists have made their way out of Maine, but soon another group of tourists will be arriving.The leaf peepers will be here to see the fall foliage.Some of the leaves are already starting to change.John Jemison and Extension Specialist with the University of Maine Cooperative Extension let’s us know why it’s happening.”Basically trees, tree leaves have chlorophyll and other pigments in the leaf, and they are responsible in helping the tree photosynthesize and as the summer wanes, the chlorophyll part breaks down and the other leaf pigments they sort of stay there longer and they take longer to break down so what you see is the chlorophyll going away and the other coloring pigments will then take over.”The leaves changing earlier than normal could be because of our dry summer months or it could be because of other reasons according to Jemison. “Some of them will go early if they’re under stress if trees have had a particularly dry spell they can often trigger some leaf anthocyanins early. Trees that have been injured maybe girdled by beavers or something like that or if they’re really old they may go sooner than others.”Maine Forest Rangers will be keeping tabs on the conditions and colors around the state.Starting Wednesday, reports will be published each week on The Maine Foliage website. “The Rangers go out once a week and they take a measurement you know just an estimate of how many leaves are still on and the colors and stuff like that and they put it into a nice map on the web page so you can see where the best places in Maine are to see the beautiful scenery,” said Maine Forest Ranger Kent Nelson.”Most years it looks like it might go early then it kind of hangs on,” said Jemison. “And usually around the first week of October things start to turn.”