DETROIT - We're just a few weeks from the official start of fall but we're already looking forward to the leaves changing color.
SmokyMountains.com has released a map showing the predicted peak for fall foliage in 2017.
In Michigan, we're expected to start seeing minimal changes as early as next week.
We'll start to see patchy to partial changes in color between Mid-late September.
The map predicts the peak to be around October 1 - the best time to see fall colors in Michigan.
By the late part of October, leaves will be past peak color, and we'll be heading into winter.
The 2017 Fall Foliage Map is the ultimate visual planning guide to the annual progressive changing of the leaves. While no tool can be 100% accurate, this tool is meant to help travelers better time their trips to have the best opportunity of catching peak color each year.
Chlorophyll is not the only player in the fall leaf color game. Present in other leaves and trees are the compounds known as Carotenoids and Anthocyanins. As the Fall days begin to get shorter and shorter, the production of Chlorophyll slows to a hault, eventually giving way to the ‘true’ color of the leaf.
In order to cope with the gruling winter temperatures, trees slowly close off the veins that carry water and nutrients to and from the leaves with a layer of new cells that form at the base of the leaf stem, protecting the limbs and body of the tree. Once the process of new cell creation is complete, water and nutrients no longer flow to and fro from the leaf - this enable the leaf to die and weaken at the stem, eventually falling gracefully to the ground.
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