Experts predict fall color peak in Coulee Region

 

September 16, 2014

LA CROSSE Wisconsin biologists are predicting vibrant fall foliage throughout the Coulee Region.

Experts say the area has seen plenty of water during the spring and summer months, but some observers wonder if continued rainfall and wind could affect the brightness and duration of the colors, the La Crosse Tribune (http://bit.ly/1sXItYh ) reported.

"There was plenty of water, so trees aren't super stressed like last year," said Tim Gerber, a biology professor at the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse. "With any luck, we'll get warm days and cool nights, which means great color."

Some foliage is already starting to turn, but the peak color period can't be precisely determined. Gerber said once the season really gets going, experts will try to pinpoint the peak through a combination of guessing and monitoring.

Christine Walrosh, a Monroe County forester for the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources, agrees with Gerber.

"It's kind of hard to tell," she said. "Right now, some of the maples are turning. Maples turn red quick, and others two weeks later. We had a lot of moisture, so I'm surprised the maples are turning so fast."

The Wisconsin Department of Tourism's Fall Color Report estimates the peak will occur in the third week of October in La Crosse and its neighboring counties.

"The nice thing about the peak is it's usually consistent," Gerber said. "The one thing that's helpful is the plants can sense time, when there is less daylight. It's odd, because we don't think of them like animals, but they do sense the time change."

Trees have also adapted to the area's weather so the harsh winter that carried into spring shouldn't dull the color, according to Gerber.

"Even though everything started later, the interesting thing is whether we will be having cooler weather or maybe an extended summer," Gerber said. "It's like a crapshoot."

 


Associated Press