Weather In-Depth: How long before you rake the leaves

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ROCHESTER, N.Y. – There seems to be some folks that are a bit sad that summer is slowly winding down. But for others this can wonderful time of the year as we look ahead to the pretty colors of the fall season. The official start of the autumn season is coming up in just 11 days.

There are a couple of reasons why the trees start to change color. First, we are getting less and less daylight as the sun gets lower in the sky. Second, the temperature is getting cooler, especially during the nighttime hours. The average date of the first frost in the southern tier of New York State is this week.  Closer to Rochester, the average date is October 25th.

The average timeline of when the trees will change advances quickly over the next four or five weeks. Right now, there is little or no color, but in the coming week there will be a small change of maybe 10 or 20 percent. Then over the next two to three weeks, the change should advance to 25 to 75 percent. And then by week four, which would be the first week of October, you can expect near peak fall foliage.

Those beautiful leaves will not stay in the tree very long and will quickly fall to the ground. That is when the real work begins. Consider the average mature oak tree has approximately 200,000 leaves. And, if we break down the numbers, 360 dry leaves works out to about a pound in weight and that tree may produce upwards of 550 pounds of leaves. I hear raking is good exercise during the fall season.

News 10NBC First Alert meteorologists will keep you updated on the progression of the fall colors in the coming days and weeks.