Pennsylvania has a longer and more varied fall foliage season than any other state in the nation — or anywhere in the world frankly, and right now it’s in FULL SWING!
This is no empty boast. Only three regions of the world support deciduous forests that display fall autumn color: eastern North America; the British Isles and parts of northwestern Europe; northeastern China and northern Japan. Forests in other regions are either tropical or dominated by conifers. Poconos Fall Foliage we feel is the best because of our unique mountainous Pocono Plateau.
Pennsylvania’s location between 40° and 42° North latitude and its varied topography from sea level on the coastal plain to over 3,000 feet in the Laurel Highlands supports 134 species of trees and many more shrubs and vines that contribute to the display of autumn color.
Pennsylvania is the meeting ground of northern trees that flourish only on mountain tops farther south and southern species that are at the northern limits of their range. Gray and paper birch, mountain maple and mountain-ash from the north share Penn’s Woods with southern red oak, sweetbay and umbrella magnolias, sourwood, persimmon and sweetgum from the south. This influences the Poconos Fall Foliage enough to create the most diverse color palette in the world. Ohio buckeye, bur oak, and shingle oak, common to the Mississippi Valley, have eastern outposts on the Allegheny Plateau also providing an awesome fall foliage experience.
For years, scientists have worked to understand the changes that happen to trees and shrubs in autumn. Although we don’t know all the details, we know enough to explain the basics and help you to enjoy nature’s multicolored autumn display. Three factors influence autumn color — leaf pigments, length of night, and weather, but not quite in the way we were told as children. The timing of color change and leaf fall are primarily regulated by the increasing length of night. None of the other environmental influences-temperature, rainfall, food supply, and so on-are as unvarying as the steadily increasing length of night during autumn. As days grow shorter, and nights grow longer and cooler, biochemical processes in the leaf begin to paint the landscape with nature’s autumn palette so this year’s longer winter, wetter summer and brief cold spell we just got really has little effect on the peak color palette and it’s timing.