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Farmers Almanac
The 2014 Farmers Almanac
Farmers' Almanac

Best Days for Leaf Peeping

Best Days for Leaf Peeping

We all know that leaves change their colors in the fall, making this time of year a favorite for its spectacular colors. But what causes the leaves to turn?

In autumn, the days get shorter and the temperatures get cooler. The sun doesn’t warm the leaves as directly or intensely as it did during spring and summer. In these shorter, cooler days, the process of making food within the leaves ceases. As this occurs, the leaves use the food they’ve stored throughout the summer. This causes the leaves’ green pigment to become less dominant and gives other colors an opportunity to be displayed.

Weather affects both the leaves’ color intensity and duration. Ideal conditions for spectacular coloring are a warm, dry summer followed by a rainy autumn. In autumn, warm, sunny days with cool nights trigger brilliant color formations. An early frost lessens the intensity of red. Rainy or overcast days intensify the brilliancy of color. A cool, clear day is always best for viewing.

Planning a trip to see fall foliage in all its glory? The Farmers’ Almanac predicts fall color will be at its peak during these times:

Sept. 28-Oct. 8: Vermont (northern)

Sept. 28-Oct. 29: New York, depending on elevation and distance from coast

Oct. 5-15: Colorado, Maine (inland), Michigan (northern), Minnesota (northern), Montana (central), New Hampshire (inland), New Mexico, Vermont (southern), Wisconsin, Wyoming

Oct. 12-22: Arizona, Idaho, Illinois (northern), Indiana (northern), Iowa, Kentucky (eastern), Maine (coastal), Massachusetts (inland), Michigan (southern), Minnesota (northern), Missouri (northern), Montana (western), New Hampshire (coastal), North Dakota, Ohio, Pennsylvania, South Dakota, Utah, West Virginia,

Oct. 19-29: Arkansas (Ozarks), California (northern), Connecticut, Illinois (southern), Indiana (southern), Kentucky (western), Maryland (inland), Massachusetts (coastal), Missouri (southern), New Jersey (inland), North Carolina (inland), Oregon, Rhode Island, Tennessee, Virginia (inland), Washington

Oct. 26-Nov. 5: Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, Delaware, Georgia (northern), Maryland (coastal), Mississippi (northern), New Jersey (coastal), North Carolina (coastal), South Carolina, Virginia (coastal)

(Note that peak times are earlier at higher elevation.)

If you notice a hole in the upper left-hand corner of your Farmers' Almanac, don't return it to the store! That hole isn't a defect; it's a part of history. Starting with the first edition of the Farmers' Almanac in 1818, readers used to nail holes into the corners to hang it up in their homes, barns, and outhouses (to provide both reading material and toilet paper). In 1910, the Almanac's publishers began pre-drilling holes in the corners to make it even easier for readers to keep all of that invaluable information (and paper) handy.