Heat-stressed larches turning golden earlier than usual, experts say

By Jessica Lee
Western Wheel
September 6, 2023
Category: Forestry
Region: Canada, Canada West

KANANASKIS COUNTRY – Robert Frost said it best: ‘Nothing gold can stay.’ A coniferous larch tree reaches its full autumn glory, turning from green to gold over a few weeks in what has become an increasingly popular sight to behold in parts of the Rocky Mountains before its needles drop, signifying the onset of winter. This year, though, hot, dry conditions coupled with wildfire smoke have caused the golden larch season to start earlier, and it could last longer than usual. “What we’ve seen here in terms of the similar progression of leaves and larches, is that it has been a bit quicker than normal,” said Michael Roycroft, regional director for Kananaskis with Alberta Parks. “We are starting to see some change in colour and with that comes more visitation. Fall is traditionally a busy time for visitation in Kananaskis Country.” Larch season is typically mid-September to early October.

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