Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Leafpeeper FAQ

As a New Hampshire Innkeeper, I try to be an expert on our state’s attractions.  In the upcoming months, I will blog about things to do and see in the state.  But today being the last one in September, I thought I’d attempt to address the most frequently asked question this time of year;

When is peak?

My stock answer is I wish I had a crystal ball and a dozen extra rooms for that week.

Seriously, it depends.

It depends on how wet the summer was.  A few years ago we hosted a couple of high school science teachers in August.  They declared it would be a long, colorful leaf season because there had been enough rain that summer; the leaves weren't dying yet.  And they were right.  That year there was some color in the trees until Halloween.

It depends on the type of tree (maple, oak, birch) and the stage in its life cycle.  Here are some resources about variety and color and the science of it all.

What I mean about life cycle may just be my own theory based on observation, not scientific research.  Young trees tend to change and then drop their leaves in the slightest breeze.  Older trees don’t seem to want to let go; some branches have already changed and shed while others are still green.  Maybe it’s a bit like my body – my knees know my age but my mind holds fast to my 23 year old self.  Here’s an example taken today of the maple across the street at Quilted Threads.

It depends on your definition of peak and your appreciation of random surprise color.  Yesterday was a bright sunny day but I was in a hurry.  Today it is spitting rain but I remembered to bring my camera.  Here’s the tree whose color screamed “look at me” while its neighbors are still very green.

Is peak when a tree is at its fullest color?  When looking at the hillside you see more yellow, red and gold than you see green?  What about those evergreens?  And the Tamarack that Phil planted in our back yard?  Tamaracks (also known as larch) are the only deciduous conifer and turn gold after all the hardwoods have dropped their leaves.  So it depends on the make-up of the woods you’re looking at.

It also depends on where you’re looking.  Here’s a photo taken today, in a valley, near water, after driving along thinking maybe only 10% had changed so far.  Want more color? Go low and find water ringed by swamp maples.  Or go north where there have been more cool nights.  When the color has run out up there, travel south to find a little more.


All these photos were taken today.  The sesaon has just begun and there are stunning colors to enjoy.

There are web sites where leaf spotters report on their local conditions or algorithms forecast color changes.  Just remember, beauty is in the eye of the beholder and it depends.  

1 comment:

  1. I miss the colours -- we get yellows and browns