Summer of 2023 was the second rainiest summer on record for Massachusetts. Second only to the summer of 1955 according to the National Weather Service.
While this caused everything from mild frustration with summer plans to severe flooding in Vermont, the deluge of rain from this summer will positively impact this season’s foliage. The abundance of rain has left experts predicting that this will be one of the “brightest and most concentrated” New England autumns when it comes to leaf peeping.
Periods of heavy rain followed by a short stretch of blistering sunshine (aka summer 2023) are the optimal conditions for healthy trees. There is enough rain to keep the trees healthy and hydrated and the hot sunny days prevent the growth of fungus and mildew on the trees. When the trees are healthy, the leaves are too, and experts predict these healthy leaves will turn over beautifully.
When the leaves are dry from drought, they fall prematurely and don’t reach their peak color. When the leaves are soggy from a lack of sunshine, they become diseased.
Richard Primack, a BU biology professor predicts “a pretty dramatic display with all the leaves changing color at once.” Joshua Halman, a Vermont forest manager says ““right now, all the trees look really good. Healthy trees yield good fall foliage.” They also predict fall foliage will peak in late September and early October here in New England.
Some of the best spots to catch the fall foliage are Acadia in Maine and Stowe, Vermont.