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Fall foliage on Long Island: Why the season might be extended this year

The changing of the seasons, as seen via

The changing of the seasons, as seen via fall foliage in Farmingdale on Monday. Credit: Reece T. Williams

This autumn’s leaf displays — when soothing green gives way to blazing yellow, orange, scarlet and even purple — are not only running late but likely will be muted for the second year in a row, botanists and park officials have said.

Last weekend’s first official frost, when temperatures fell to at least freezing, should hasten the process, and possibly even extend the season from its usual Halloween peak all the way to Thanksgiving.

It already has, for example, transformed a shaded stand of historic beech trees in Hempstead Lake State Park into a standout, "a wonderful sort of yellowish orange" said Jonathan Lehrer, chair, urban horticulture and design department at Farmingdale State College.

What delayed the fall foliage of 2021?

How do cooler nights allow leaves to turn?

Will Jack Frost’s tardiness lower the "stop-the-car" quality of the autumn beauty?

How has this year's fall foliage compared with last year's?

Any consolations for any disappointing leaf peeping?

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