Abnormally early below-freezing temperatures could ruin Colorado leaf-peeping this year | SummitDaily.com

Abnormally early below-freezing temperatures could ruin Colorado leaf-peeping this year

Aspen leaves likely to turn brown instead of yellow and orange, expert says

Foliage shows off its fall colors on Kenosha Pass on Sept. 20, 2016.
Photo by RJ Sangosti / The Denver Post

While the snowstorm that barged into the state from the north overnight may help firefighters battling the Cameron Peak fire and others in the state, the cold temperatures that came with it may ruin leaf-peeping.

That’s according to Dan West, the state forest entomologist for the Colorado State Forest Service. Snowfall isn’t the problem, but below freezing temperatures will do the damage.

“It’s definitely going to affect the amount of fall foliage that we see this season,” West said. “We’re likely to see quite a bit of loss of color. Instead of seeing the yellows and the oranges, we’re instead going to see more of a brown effect.”

And because the cold snap came so early — before the leaves became walled off from their branches, a biological process in the fall which is what starts the color change — those brown leaves are likely to remain attached to their trees for longer than normal.

Read the full story on denverpost.com.

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