We’re getting close to our first frost of the season in Vermont, New Hampshire, and northern New York; in fact Saranac Lake has already experienced their first frost. It can be a great thing if you are excited for winter, but for farmers it means that the growing season is ending. However, our changing climate is allowing for a longer growing season.
For Burlington, the typical date of their first freeze is October 8th. Montpelier’s median first freeze is October 3rd. Saranac Lake has already surpassed their median date with their first freeze typically occurring September 10th.
Research shows that climate change has delayed the first freeze across northern New York and New England. Between 1950 to 2021, Chittenden County’s freeze is happening 1.7 days later per decade and Essex County, New York is experiencing their freeze date 3.2 days later per decade.
Now, we are seeing periods between spring freezes and fall freezes increase over time due to climate change. Because of this, farmers are seeing an increase in their growing season. Farmers in Windsor County, Vermont are seeing an increase in growing days of 4.5 days per decade.
While this could be seen as a good thing for farmers, it also brings unwanted effects such as an increase in the spread of invasive species and weeds that could harm other vegetation. Either way, changing the length of a growing season can drastically alter an entire ecosystem.