Today is Autumn Equinox which marks the official start of Autumn. Just reading the word conjures up visions of woolly jumpers and crisp mornings. And despite the 34 degrees recorded in some parts of the UK just a couple of weeks ago, the trees have already started to shed their leaves.
How do they know that Autumn has started? And more importantly, will the crazy weather that we experienced this summer have an effect on the colour of the leaves this year? According to the Forestry Commission (and they should know), the answer is ‘yes’.
Andrew Smith, a Forestry Commission director at its Westonbirt Arboretum was recently quoted as saying: “The abundance of rain we experienced in spring, coupled with above average sunshine has meant a great growing season for trees as it allows them to build up plenty of sugars in their leaves.
It’s these sugars that produce the rich autumnal colours when they are absorbed back into the tree to help them survive winter. This year we have our fingers crossed that it should be good for producing a great autumnal colour display”.
We weren’t aware that trees produced sugars so we’ve learnt something already. More importantly, it looks like we’re in for a great Autumn leaf show. And one that’s free too.
Better still, the Forestry Commission has produced a list of the top ten places to visit in the UK where you can see some spectacular leaves. Click here to visit their site. The sites are dotted all over the UK and comprise walks of various categories and lengths.
But keep an eye out on the weather. The Forestry Commission is predicting autumn colours from mid-September onwards. If the weather remains fairly dry they predict they’ll be at their best from mid to late October. And if we experience a mild autumn then the colours could go on as for as long as November. Happy days.