We are now entering the last week of October, a time normally when the southern part of the state should be peaking for fall leaf colors. Because of our warm start to the month, most of the state is near peak this week.

When should we normally start to see the peak leaf colors here in Ohio?

In a normal weather year (which we have not had in some time), we would already be seeing peak to almost past peak in the north, and be at peak in the central part of the state and near peak in the south.

Why this might be the BEST time to view the colors now!

Since most of the state is now in the range of “peak” or “near peak” it would clearly be a great time to get out in the next week to 2 weeks, but with an incoming weather system this weekend we could lose a lot of the leaves.

This time of the year, heavy rainfall weighs down the leaves, and so does breezy to windy conditions. We have already had a pretty windy week so far, and a system moving up from the south could bring an inch or more of rainfall to our area by the time we get to Sunday.

So if you can get out to our local metroparks, county parks, or state parks, lunch on Friday might be a good time, or Sunday once this incoming weather system exits. With colder temps on the horizon, and another wet rainmaking cold front for the middle of next week before Halloween, many parks could be thin and past peak in another week.

There will still be a handful to a couple handfuls of parks that will be in the peak range for the first weekend of November, but it is not a lock as of now! Scroll down for a current listing of the state parks.

What is good for color changes?

Ideally, you want things wet and non-stressful for the trees during the growing season, and all summer long.  Droughts and prolonged periods of hot and dry weather are bad.

Bad weather conditions early could cause a shorter, or even weaker color change for the Fall.  Also, wet weather is fine in early September, but you do want to get a good amount of sunshine by late September and October.  This will promote more of the chemical in the leaves that turns them green to get broken down.

We also want warm days and cool nights to help promote this process, and help to push forward with helping the yellows, reds, and oranges to show up.  Another key is not to have heavy rains in Autumn or big wind storms, that will weigh down on the weakened fall leaves and cause them to fall quickly.

Below are the current conditions reported by ODNR at our state parks:

If you have questions about Autumn leaf color changes, what to expect, or any other weather questions, email me, dmazza@wcmh.com