What’s the outlook for fall colors across Utah?

Local News

OGDEN, Utah (ABC4 Utah) – Fall begins Friday, September 22nd, and many people are looking forward to the pop of  colors as the leave change colors.

 Temperatures in Northern Utah have gone from extremely hot to unseasonably cool in a very short amount of time. Typically, a gradual cooling highlights the vibrancy of fall colors, but it seems like that won’t be the case this year.

“I was sad to see a little bit of snow up there this morning on Mount Ogden, I am thinking we are going to level out in this chilliness and it’s going to be okay,” Jamie Hafey-Francke, who lives in Ogden said Tuesday. 

The cooler air will dominate this week with another strong storm system set to roll through the Wasatch Front Thursday. While it’s a jolt to our system, that’s not the case when it comes to our trees. Many folks may see brown on leaf edges on quite a few trees, but that’s actually an impact from heat stress. The brown on the leaves is called “leaf scorch” and happens after several years of heat stress. Our abrupt cool down though is something our quaking aspen, mapel and scrub oak trees can handle pretty well. 

“As long as it is not a harsh freeze early on, if it’s just a mild freeze they should be able to hang on and proudce some great colors for us to go and see,” Helen Muntz, horticulture agent at the Utah State Extension in Weber County. 

Valley plants and crops are a bit of a different story, they need to be covered with a light blanket or cloth when temperatures dip into the 30s. Trees, though, are getting ready to protect their buds and store energy in their roots for next year. Fantastic fall foliage is a formula. 

“Temperature is part of what cues trees to go into dormancy and show their fall colors, but the other part of it, as well, is shorter day length,” Helen Muntz, horticulture agent at the Utah State Extension in Weber County. 

Drought speeds up the leaf changing process, but with our last healthy winter, our favorite reds, yellow and purple hues will be branching out soon enough along the Wasatch Front.

“Our peak season should last a little longer and be a little more vibrant than past years,” Helen Muntz, horticulture agent at the Utah State Extension in Weber County. 
 

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