Wondering why there are still colorful leaves on trees? You’re not alone

Fall leaves remain on trees, wet weather partially to blame

LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) - You may have noticed that some trees are holding onto their leaves a little longer this year.

“It seems like everything has been a tiny bit later this year," Trees Louisville spokeswoman Cindi Sullivan said.

Leaves typically reach their peak color around the third or fourth week of October across WAVE Country, Sullivan said. This year it was a bit later, which delayed the leaves falling.

“It was such an incredibly wet growing season," Sullivan said. “I think there’s still a lot of physiology going on, even though we’ve really had some cold temperatures. So, I think that’s part of the reason that some of the trees are really hanging on to those leaves without letting go just yet.”

Although the weather has played a key role in the delay, there are other contributing factors.

“There are some species that will lose their leaves really early; walnuts are I think an example of that,” Sullivan said. "Some hold onto them for really long; oaks are a great example of that.”

When the leaves fall also depends on the condition of the tree.

“If a tree is stressed out then it’s going to brown out their leaves earlier, maybe not even get that good color," Sullivan said.

But the recent colder temperatures have sped up the process.

“There were a lot of trees that just overnight after we had that really cold evening, just boom, off they went, whether they were green or in full fall color," Sullivan said.

Although the leaves have fallen a little bit later this year, it’s never too soon to start thinking about planting trees for the next growing season.

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