ODNR: Fall colors could be a week later than normal

Ohio's Fall Foliage

COLUMBUS (WCMH) — Now that we’ve officially flipped the calendar over to fall, the next question on everyone’s mind is when will we start seeing the beautiful fall colors?

Normally, trees go from green to peak shades of yellow, orange and red from the northern part of the state first, normally the first week or two in October. Central Ohio’s transition is shortly after, in the middle of October, and finally, peak colors reach southern Ohio the beginning of November. 

However, Tyler Stevenson, Urban Forestry Program Manager with the Division of Forestry within Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR), said that since we had such a warm end to summer, you might want to delay trips to see the transition this fall. 

“Compared to normal, I’d delay a week, week and a half. Really, you can find fall color in Ohio throughout the whole fall color season. You just have to travel to the right areas,” Stevenson said.

The beautiful colors we see on the trees is from shorter days signaling to the trees that it’s time for the chlorophyll to break down and for nutrients to retreat from the leaves down to the stem. Another thing needed for the bright colors is some of the weather extremes that happen in the fall. 

“Ideal weather for fall color in Ohio is bright, warm, sunny days, nice cool nights, but not freezing. Frosts are not good for fall color. But, nice cool nights in the 50s. Bright, warm sunny days, cool night, and we’ll have excellent fall color for Ohio,” Stevenson explained. 

“I do get excited about fall colors. It is a great time!  Everyone loves fall and it’s just a beautiful time to be outside and experience nature and be out in our wonderful state lands that we have throughout the state.  It’s just a great time of year where the weather is perfect, and the colors just add to the great experience outside.”

More information on tours for the fall colors, why the leaves change color and areas that are coming into their peak can be found at http://fallcolor.ohiodnr.gov/.  

Admission to Ohio’s state parks is free. There is a fee for extra experiences like staying at the campgrounds.

Foliage reports are scheduled to start the first week in October.  

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