Leaf-peeping prime season sweeps SOKY; drought to cause less vibrant leaves

When and where to peep your fab fall foliage?

BOWLING GREEN, Ky. – Red Maples, orange sweet gums, buttery ginkgos: fall foliage is sweeping southbound, and our ideal leaf-peeping window is almost here.

But what’s not ideal? Our dry weather might affect some of our fall foliage for the worse.

News 40 meteorologist Darius Mack explained, “Because you have those shorter days in the fall [the leaves are] not getting enough hours of feeding time from the sun. So, because they’re not getting all that sunlight they’ll start to change color.”

Compared to previous years though, this summer-long drought might lessen our Autumn outdoors’ wow factor.

Baker Arboretum Director and WKU Horticulture professor Dr. Martin Stone explains that with SOKY’s dry fall, “The leaves will won’t color up as grand as they do on a moist normal year, and they may not stay on the tree quite as long.”

With such a small leaf-peeping window that will most likely shorten with the dry weather, do you know where to be when SOKY’s scenery sets ablaze?

Mammoth Cave National Park is a good place to see,” suggested Stone. “There are unbroken stretches of native trees… and you can see on the hills the beautiful trees starting to color up… Bernheim Forest is a favorite of mine. It’s a huge arboretum/forest just south of Louisville, and there’s a lot of good leaf peeping there. And then, of course, the parks here in Warren County and Bowling Green are really well maintained, and they’ve got a lot of nice colors if you don’t want to get too far from home.”

You can also turn to leaf peeper favorite resources, the National Fall Foliage Prediction Map or New England Foliage.

Of course, Bowling Green’s Baker Arboretum is a great place to bring your camera, pumpkin-spiced latte and someone you love.

“[The Baker Arboretum features] the largest collection of Japanese maples in this part of the continent and they are very, very beautiful,” remarked Stone fondly.

Make sure to send your prettiest fall foliage snaps to News 40’s socials for a chance to get your pics on air!