MAINE, USA — Fall is starting early in Maine this season, as bursts of orange and red can already be seen among trees in various areas around the state.
While fall doesn't officially begin until Sept. 22, the summer-long drought in Maine may be to blame for some early fall foliage -- and spotty foliage, at that. Colors will be determined based on the health of trees amid the drought and will likely be spotty, patchy, or muted, the Associated Press reported.
Mainers have witnessed an abnormally dry summer. Famers in the agriculture industry have felt the effects, and many members of the public have reported dry wells across the state.
NEWS CENTER Maine's Meteorologist Keith Carson gave insight into which areas in the state will most likely be affected by drought when it comes to fall foliage.
"The drought is probably a factor in trees along the coastline turning this early, farther inland and into the mountains, the drought was less significant through the late summer, so it shouldn't be as big of an impact [there]," Carson said.
The state of Maine released its first Foliage Report of the season Wednesday, highlighting Maine Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry fall foliage spokesperson Gale Ross' thoughts on the start of fall.
"I like to remind folks that color change depends on the weather as we advance into fall," Ross said in the report. "Fall foliage conditions reports will be sent out each Wednesday through October 19, or until the last leaf drops!"
Wednesday's report notes there is little color change among trees, but it's expected to be a colorful season ahead.
"While some may have perceived fall coloration to be developing a bit earlier than usual in some areas and in some tree species due to the late summer dry period, peak color should develop normally from north to south," DACF Maine Forest Service Forest Pathologist Aaron Bergdahl said in the report.
According to the report, northern Maine typically sees color changes by the end of September and early October. The rest of the state will see its color changes from north to south in mid-October. As for coastal Maine, leaves will change in mid- to end of October.
Even amid Maine's ongoing drought that may affect fall foliage this year, there are still many spots across the state perfect for leaf peeping. Below is a list of places to visit in each of Maine's seven foliage zones.
Viewing spots in Maine foliage zones
- Zone 1: Camden Hills State Park in Camden.
- Zone 2: Acadia National Park in Bar Harbor.
- Zone 3: Chick Hill in Clifton, Peaks-Kenny State Park in Dover-Foxcroft.
- Zone 4: Baxter State Park in Millinocket.
- Zone 5: Grafton Notch State Park in Newry, Mt. Blue State Park in Weld.
- Zone 6: Allagash Wilderness Waterway, a northern Maine protected waterway that extends from Aroostook County into Piscataquis County.
- Zone 7: Aroostook State Park, Presque Isle.
Stay tuned each week for more NEWS CENTER Maine fall foliage updates.