Fall leaves slow to change colors this summer

By: Joseph Dames Email
By: Joseph Dames Email

GRAND JUNCTION, Colo. (KKCO) - With fall just about three weeks away, you might be expecting more colors in Colorado's high country.

Right now, however, there's a lot of green out there thanks to our wet summer. But how will that impact this year's fall leaves?

"[The leaves are] absolutely beautiful, lots of yellow out here and the different hues that are out here are just magnificent," Grand Valley residents Shantelle and Chris Angello said.

The Angello's are talking about previous visits to the Grand Mesa, when the Aspen leaves are bright gold. Right now, it still looks like the middle of summer.

Old timers on the mountain like Waldo Gilley say not to worry, Mother Nature will eventually force the change and bring a riot of color to the hills.

"There will be brilliant yellows, and oranges, and reds, and the Aspen just get glorious and so do all of the other plants," he said.

But this wait for green to become yellow has something to do with the wet weather Mother Nature has already given us. Horticulturist Susan Rose says it has to do a lot more to do with the sun.

"Chlorophyll starts to fade as the days get shorter and shorter, it's really a matter of that chlorophyll fading out so you don't see that green anymore, and then the genetics of the plant will kick in as far as if you will see more of the red, orange or yellow," Rose said.

While many are like the Angello's, ready to move into one of Colorado's more brilliant seasons, others on the Mesa are holding their breaths that Mother Nature will deliver a spectacular show.

"The fall is always one of those interesting time periods on when the peak will be, but we are cautiously optimistic that both weekends will have some great colors for us," Powderhorn Mountain Resort GM Daren Cole said.

Experts say the fall foliage gradually happens overtime usually towards the end of September, so we still have a few weeks in the Valley. They also say it depends on the plant and tree: some things tend to take a little bit quicker to change, some tend to take a little bit longer.

Plant experts say the process of dropping acorns and nuts is very similar, and that will start to happen as we reach the end of September as well.

To celebrate the changing colors, Powderhorn Mountain Resort is hosting a fall festival the weekend of September 21st. Its color weekend is the 28th and 29th.

There are lots of activities planned for both weekends including looking at the leaves.


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