Reds and purples could be brighter this year.
This year’s widespread drought was bad news for farmers and gardeners, but there’s at least one upside. This year’s fall colors will be bright and colorful, especially in the American Northeast, according to National Geographic Magazine.
Trees produce anthocyanins, natural pigments that cause the bright reds and purples in fall foliage, in higher concentrations during mild or moderate drought conditions. Other colors like browns, yellows and oranges are caused by another natural pigment: carotenoids. Those colors are usually covered up by the green-hued chlorophyll during warm weather.
Leaves change color in the fall as trees as trees try to recover nutrients before the cold winter months. As the days get shorter and the nights get longer, all plants start to recover important nutrients like nitrogen and phosphorus.
Other conditions affect the leaves’ color such as the temperature and rainfall in the weeks leading up to the change.
To find the best fall foliage, see National Geographic’s guide.