After several cooler to chilly nights, and a lot of bright sunshine during the days, and then some cooler afternoons, colors are really starting to kick into gear. This week the colors are “near peak” at a handful of parks, and changing at the rest.

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.

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.

When should we see peak colors this year?

We are nearing the end of the 3rd week of October already, and there is no “peak” conditions being reported yet.

Given the forecast for the next week, I anticipate we will be at peak conditions by next week/weekend across the northern third of the state.

The central part of the state is expected to also have a later than normal peak season. Should be near peak late next week, and peaking the days ahead of Trick or Treat night.

The southern part of the state should be near peak by Halloween, with the first week of November pushing the peak colors in the south.

While this is not exact for each park (cool/dry/sunny) could slightly alter some of these locations, this is roughly a good indicator. What is great is ODNR update the state parks each week with the colors being observed at each park.

With a good amount of sunshine most of the next 7 days, and much cooler, including several cooler than normal nights, we should start to see the changes accelerating a bit more over the next week.

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,