The exact timing is dependent on a number of factors, including the temperature and the weather. Brilliant colors are due to sugars in the leaf, which are higher when it’s a warm day out and are kept in the leaf by cooler nights, which cause the veins to close and keep the sugars in. So warm days and cool nights are ideal for colorful falls. Summer drought or a late spring can cause color change to start weeks later.
The biggest impact is the longer nights that come with the end of summer and approach of winter, so the general change of leaf color is tied to the calendar since the length of days and nights is consistent. The factors mentioned above make slight differences but nothing acts as strongly as the methodical calendar.
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