CHICOPEE, Mass. (WWLP) – Friday is the first full day of fall and it sure felt like fall out there.

22News is working for you with the average dates when western Massachusetts will expect to see the peak fall foliage as the leaves are beginning to change on some trees.

In northern New England peak foliage is September and during the beginning of October. In southern New England which includes western Massachusetts, peak color is around the middle of October.

On the current fall foliage map, not much color is showing up in western Massachusetts right now. There is some patchy color in the Berkshires but some good color is in northern New England especially up in the Green Mountains of Vermont.  

Why do leaves change color?

Chlorophyll is the compound that gives leaves their green color and helps plants by converting sunlight into “food” through photosynthesis.

As the days get shorter and colder in the fall, chlorophyll in leaves breaks down and reveals the natural colors underneath, including red, orange and yellow.

The colors are based on chemicals in the leaves like carotenoids and anthocyanin, according to the Harvard Forest.