COLUMBUS (WCMH) — The second week of October is already bringing splashes of fall color around the Buckeye State.
The next few weeks should bring vibrant shades of yellow, red and gold from woodlands to backyards. Spurts of cool weather and abundant sunshine, coupled with shorter days that trigger the annual color transformation, are the perfect combination for a vivid fall foliage season.
The color change begins as green chlorophyll ceases food production (sugars) in response to diminishing daylight, revealing the true pigments of the leaves. Xanthophylls have carotenoid pigments responsible for yellow, orange and red colors we find in fruits (apples) and vegetables (corn).
Cooler nights cause the sap to become concentrated, trapping sugar and increasing the reddish-purple anthocyanins. The shade of color is also determined by the reflection of sunlight at different wavelengths.
The Ohio Department of Natural Resources provided answers to the following questions on fall colors:
When can we expect peak colors?
This year Ohioans can expect a more traditional fall foliage season with peak color arriving mid- to late October across the state. This can be partially attributed to more seasonal temperatures and average amounts of rainfall over the summer and into the fall.
Where are things turning early?
Fall color typically starts in the northern part of the state and transitions south. We are currently observing leaves changing color along roads, water bodies, and in urban environments, especially around the Cleveland and Toledo areas.
Are certain trees prone to turning certain colors?
There are many variables which impact the intensity of each year’s fall color, but you can count on certain tree species displaying the same colors from year to year. For example, black walnut, beech, and cottonwood trees will consistently turn yellow hues, while sumac, red oak, and sourwood will present a spectrum of deep red colors. Some species, such as red and sugar maples, persimmon, and sweetgum will exhibit a mix of red, yellow, and orange colors.
We’d love to see your pictures as the leaves start to change color. You can share them with us directly through the NBC4 mobile weather app. For more resources on fall color in Ohio, head to NBC4i.com/fall.
Stay tuned to NBC4i.com/weather for the latest weather information.