Looking around Holland Patent at the end of September, one would normally expect to see an abundance of yellow, orange, and red in the trees. That is not the case this season. As of September 23rd, virtually all the deciduous trees were green, with only some Oak trees exhibiting the faintest patches of yellow. Typically, the Holland Patent area would be barreling toward the peak of the foliage, which normally takes place during the last week of September into first week of October. This year, I'm not forecasting colors to peak until between the 2nd and 3rd week of October.
So, why the delay?
We first have to note that September 2018 is on course to go down as the 4th warmest on record, with an average temperature around 6 degrees above average. While chlorophyll production in the leaves is controlled by the daylight hours, it is the temperature that controls the decomposition of the chlorophyll. Even though the deciduous trees have all but stopped producing chlorophyll, as the days have shortened just like any other season, the chlorophyll already produced is not breaking down as fast as normal. It is only after the chlorophyll breaks down that one can observe the red, orange, and yellow in the leaves. Unfortunately, even though the chlorophyll is breaking down at a slower rate, the leaves themselves are still dying like they would any other year. That means some leaves just turn from green to brown, as the leaf is dead by the time the chlorophyll finishes breaking down. With that being said, it's not that we won't see any color at all, as most leaves will not be fully dead when all of the chlorophyll breaks down. The colors this year will just be slightly less robust than they were in previous seasons.