I don’t remember an autumn that has lasted as long as this one in Central Kentucky. After the severe drought in the early summer, we had a wet late summer and fall. Trees in the urban area of Lexington and in surrounding forests began showing bright colors in August. Now, on November 12, there are still bright colors all over town. There are still many red maples, sugar maples and oaks with bright colors. Most of the ash trees are done, but the ginkgoes are still bright.
Why such a long fall? We had cool conditions in August which, combined with shortening days, began bringing out the colors. August night temperatures were as low as 49 F. Cool conditions continued through September and October, with some warm days but mostly cools and clear nights. These conditions gradually brought out the colors. But it didn’t freeze: As of today, Fayette County, KY has not had a killing frost, although we have had a few light frosts. A killing frost is defined as 3 or more hours below 28 F, which will kill any plants still growing and accelerate leaf abscission in trees.
Here is a gallery of photographs of this fall in Central Kentucky, with more to be added