According to the state government, right now the Maine fall foliage map is all green. I would suggest that the folks from Augusta take a trip down to York County where I live, then reconsider their answer.
That’s because if you’ve driven on the Maine Turnpike lately, you’ll notice that many of the trees along the roadway have started to turn. Mostly, I’m seeing this in younger saplings but they’re definitely turning.
When taking a day trip from Maine to Newburyport in Massachusetts and Newington in New Hampshire, the trees are already changing there, too.
Also, you have to wonder why.
Maine fall foliage map as of September 13, 2023.
Maine fall foliage map
Normally, the Maine fall foliage map starts to light up in oranges and reds by the last week of September. Here’s how the office of Department of Agriculture, Conservation & Forestry explains it:
“Typically, northern Maine (zones 6 and 7) reach peak conditions the last week of September into the first week of October. The rest of the state’s color progression starts occurring from north to south in mid-October. Coastal Maine typically reaches peak conditions in mid-to-late October.”Maine.gov
FYI, Southern coastal Maine is Zone 1. Farther inland and western Southern Maine is Zone 3.
This government office starts issuing weekly fall foliage reports — and updating the Maine fall foliage map — in mid-September. We got the first report last week.
It will be interesting to see if this week’s map looks significantly different. I wonder if we’ll see more yellow to match up with what I’m seeing in Southern Maine.
Sure, green means a low concentration of fall foliage. So, if you’re just talking trees dotting the highway (and that’s under 10 percent of all the trees that have changed), then I guess an all-green map makes sense.
What affects fall foliage
The fall foliage experts in Augusta say that they’re predicting a colorful foliage season because Maine has had plenty of rain. On the other hand, when we’re in a drought, the colors tend to come and go faster. Or the trees just drop their leaves to minimize resources.
However, given just how much rain Maine has had in 2023, you have to wonder if too much rain affects tree leaves the same way that too little rain does.
What I mean is this: in years when there’s been drought, I remember fall colors occurring earlier in the season. And the trees would start dropping their leaves sooner, too.
Now, I understand that color change is connected to shorter daylight hours and cooler temps. But, again, seeing maple trees starting to turn already makes me think there is more of a water connection with the foliage this year than in years past.
Also, you have to wonder if the trees turn earlier, will that affect maple syrup production — and therefore Maine Maple Sunday events — next year.
Fall foliage zones
Here are all of the fall foliage zones that you’ll see plotted on the Maine map:
- Zone 7: Northeastern Maine, including Fort Kent, Caribou, and Presque Isle
- Zone 6: Northwestern Maine
- Zone 5: Western Mid-Maine, including Greenville, Rangeley, Bethel
- Zone 4: Eastern Mid-Maine, including Houlton, Millinocket, and Calais
- Zone 3: Central and Southwestern Maine, including Bangor, Augusta, and Fryeburg
- Zone 2: Downeast Maine, including Machias, Bar Harbor, and Penobscot Bay
- Zone 1: Mid-Coast and South Coastal Maine, including Camden, Portland, Kennebunkport, and Kittery
Final thoughts on the Maine fall foliage map
We’ll keep updating this article as the fall foliage map progresses in Maine. In the meantime, we encourage you to enjoy all that Maine has to offer in fall, including going apple picking and Maine Maple Fall Fest.