Here’s why leaves are changing colors, falling later than normal this year

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TERRE HAUTE, Ind. (WTWO/WAWV) — If you’ve looked up at the trees lately you may be wondering why we are still seeing some leaves. Station Meteorologist Savanna Brito spoke with local officials and has the breakdown.

“They’re holding on and some are still green that shouldn’t be green,” Carissa Lovett, Dobbs Park Naturalist for the City of Terre Haute Parks and Recreation, said.

This year leaves were late in changing colors and even just simply falling off the trees. Lovett said some species even stay green through the cold months.  

“Some of our species do hang on to them throughout the winter, and then lose them in the spring like some of the Oaks, and the Beech, the young Beech trees,” Lovett said.

A big factor behind this was the warm October we experienced across our area. In fact, this October ties 2016 as the warmest October in 74 years.

“The higher temperatures that we’ve had for so long, it’s just been pretty mild,” Lovett said. “The trees have not been stressed a lot this year.” 

Another reason is that rain will help knock leaves off of trees and we went into the first 10 days of November without seeing any precipitation. Lovett is hopeful 2022 will bring more vibrant colors. 

“It does make it a nice transition into winter, at least we have something pretty to look forward to,” Lovett said. 

Normally most trees are relatively bare by early November but here we are in late November with leaves still dancing on some of the branches.

We also didn’t have the bright colors we see some years. That’s because summer needs to be dry, and autumn needs to have sunny days and cool nights. 

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