Getting ready for fall colors in Ohio

Ohio's Fall Foliage

We may have flipped over the calendar to fall, but it’s a little too early to see all the bright oranges, yellows and reds in the trees.

Fall colors generally start to appear from north to south across the country, so areas north or I-70 and into Michigan are more likely to be showing the first signs of fall color.

Jamie Regula, a forester with Ohio’s Department of Natural Resources said, “In central Ohio, we’re looking at a peak that is going to be around the week of October 19 into the 26.  You can start seeing fall color right now depending on where want to travel.  But, if you’re really looking for Central Ohio or more towards Southern Ohio, it’s going to be towards the end of October, probably finishing up the first week of November, things are going to be brown and falling off.” 

The weather and around of daylight play a big role in when we start to see color in Ohio and how long we can admire. it.

“Fall color is brought on by the shortening of days.  So, when the days start to shorten, the tree is triggered that it needs to start preparing for winter.  So, that’s why it starts in the fall.  What really impacts intensity is going to be your weather and local cite conditions.  So, the recipe for perfect fall color, or best fall color would be cool, but not freezing nights.  Warm, sunny days, and moderate amount of rain. 

“The reason that I’m saying it’s going to be a more traditional year is because we had an average amount of rainfall this year for Ohio. I know the past few weeks, it’s felt a little dry, but overall it’s been an average year.  And, it’s actually cooled down this year faster than previous year, so we’re getting those cool nights, which is great.  So that combination… it’s supposed to give us the most brilliant colors, which is great.  What we don’t want is drought, because that can cause trees to get stressed and lose their leaves early.  and what we don’t’ want is epic rain storms with big gusts of wind because that can blow the leaves off early as well before we get to enjoy the colors,” Regula said.

And with more people staying at home this year, this is one outing that you can keep on your schedule.

“I know that this has been a really challenging year for a lot of people, and a lot of activities have been canceled, but the best thing about fall color is that it is in nature, so you can enjoy it while social distancing and staying safe. “

“And you don’t have to travel far, out of a city.  If you do live in an urban area… the trees in your area, they change color too, and on tree can show a spectrum of colors, so even if you can only take laps in your neighborhood, you’ll get to enjoy it as well,” Regula said.

ODNR Fall color update can be found at

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