Expert: Expect ‘fireworks display’ of autumn colour this season

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Autumn colours

The autumn season officially begins tomorrow. And although the cooler temperatures may be a downer for most, looking at the beautiful leaves of fall are certainly a treat in itself.

And if you happen to live in the UK, experts say you can expect an incredible display of autumn colour this year.

The Guardian reports that the wet summer and recent warm, sunny weather are the perfect ingredients for a ‘fireworks display’ of natural colour. And the Royal Horticultural Society says the arrival of cold nights has already prompted leaves to turn.

The newspaper reports that the wet weather earlier in the summer prompted trees to produce a large volume of leaves which they have retained, rather than starting to shed them early, as they would do in a dry year. And another interesting point: The recent warm sunny days have increased sugar levels in the trees, which will boost autumn colours.

Colin Crosbie is a curator at RHS Wisley. He explained to the Guardian that as chlorophyll (which gives leaves their green colour) begins to break down, exposing yellow, orange and red pigments, it could provide a “firework display from trees” this year.

He went on to tell the newspaper that the recent very cool temperatures at night coupled with warm daytime temperatures had set in motion the process of leaves turning:

“This year we’ve had such a wet summer there’s a large volume of leaves on the trees, and with the Indian summer sugar levels will be high. There’s the triggers for what could be described as the perfect autumn.”

Crosbie says he is hopeful the UK is heading into a pleasant autumn. But he admitted to the Guardian that things could change, even though conditions seem perfect right now:

“We just need the weather to keep on doing the same things. What we don’t want is masses of strong winds and we don’t want heavy rain now. If it stays like this for the next two, three or four weeks it will be incredible.”

The first trees to turn will reportedly be exotic species from North America and Japan, such as red maples (Acer rubrum), the Japanese maple (Acer palmatum) and the tupelo (Nyssa sylvatica).