MARQUETTE, Mich. (WZMQ) – As the temperature keeps dropping, one beauty always makes its way onto nature’s canvas, especialy in the Upper Peninsua. Year after year, late September and early October seem to be the peak of foliage this far north. As the sun goes down earlier in the day, chlorophyll production slows down and the bright red and yellow colors present themselves.
“Some of it has to do with species of trees too that’s triggered by the cold nights and also by the warm days it’s the combination and it triggers a chemical reaction,” commented DNR Public Information Officer John Pepin. The DNR notes the levels of the sugar glucose can affect the color change. Public Information Officer John Pepin explained that there are a number of other factors that play a role as well.
“How much rain did we get through the year how much dryness is there and then the temperatures Have we had the bright sunny days and the cold nights that tend to activate the color changing,” continued Pepin.
Sugar Maples can change bright red colors, while other species of trees like aspen or poplar just shift their pigment to yellow. In September of 2022, USA Today rated the Upper Peninsula as the number 1 destination for fall color viewing, however, the National Weather Service noted that there’s one major factor that’s impacted us here all summer, and that it could lead to a shortened viewing season this fall.
“Depends on how much precip you get if you get some more precip trees are going to be less stressed out and they’re gonna probably take a little bit more time, another thing that is happening especially this year is the smoke coming in from Canada that has stressed the trees out quite a bit, if they’re dry and hot they’re gonna be stressed out and drop their leaves faster,” explained NWS Meteorologist Taylor Prislovsky.
The NWS said that the warmer temperatures we had in the summer can also affect the relative humidity that helps to keep the leaves on the branches longer.
To see what the colors are looking like right now view the peak fall color tour routes, click here.