Updated: Thursday, 06 Sep 2012, 6:17 PM EDT
Published : Thursday, 06 Sep 2012, 5:00 PM EDT
ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. (WIVB) - It isn't just the stores that are putting their fall stuff out early. Mother Nature is starting her color show early, too.
We can blame the weather for fall foliage viewing beginning nearly a whole month early this year.
"What we are seeing now is stress that is brought on by the lack of moisture that does contribute to leaf drop. Our year started three weeks, almost a month early than it should have," said Sam Berg, an arborist for Haskell Tree Service.
WNY warmed up much faster and is between seven- and eight-inches behind in rainfall for the year.
"You will notice that leaf color or change that you are seeing happens closer to the top of a ridge or where the water is the least," Berg noted.
When leaves are turning color, the tree is actually going dormant. Nutrients from leaves are going back into the root system. So the leaves' color is actually always there, it just becomes visible during this process as their chlorophyll empties.
However, just because this process has started early does not necessarily mean that we will be seeing it peak early or even end early. Berg says that the season will be more drawn out.
"It's not going to be as dramatic; it's not going to be all at once," Berg said. "It's going to be the trees under more stress will start to show. The ones that have weathered the drought more easy are going to go under color as normal."
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