Chill could cut short autumn colors

October 5, 2013 • State News

SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — Aspen trees rooted in the slopes of the Sangre de Cristo Mountains above Santa Fe are shedding their golden leaves right on schedule, but coming cold weather may cut the viewing season short.

Tree expert Rich Atkinson said the aspen leaves usually start to lose their green color and begin falling in early October, but he warned that freezing temperatures may hasten the process. Forecasters with AccuWeather predicted that Friday night temperatures in Santa Fe could drop to 29 degrees, and Saturday’s low could dip to 33 degrees.

“It’s nature’s way of telling the trees it’s time to close up shop,” Atkinson said.

He predicted the viewing season may last until around Oct. 21, although trees at lower altitudes might still be shedding their leaves.

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