I love this time of year in Ohio because it’s when I get to really do my thing – pay close attention to the canopy of colors that will begin to blossom as the leaves begin to change. I’m a Fall Color Forester for the Ohio Department of Natural Resources!
While parts of the state experienced dryer than normal conditions in late summer, the overall precipitation for Ohio was normal to above normal – a good indicator that our woodland canopy will be bursting with bright yellows, robust reds and deep oranges!
I expect peak color should occur in early October for the northern third of Ohio; mid-October for central Ohio, and late October for the southern third of the state. Sunny autumn days and cold – but not freezing – nights are the optimal conditions for the most vibrant fall colors.
I always get the question, why do leaves change colors this time of year? Well it’s not as simple as you may think. Leaves change color because of decreasing sunlight which causes a layer to form on the outside of the leaves. This causes the chlorophyll to break down so that colors like gold, yellow, brown and orange show through especially in Ohio’s beech, birch and hickory trees.
Other trees such as maples, dogwoods and sweet gums undergo a chemical change caused by cool nights and sunny days. The leaves on these trees change to a myriad of colors including deep red, purple, russet and bronze shades.
You can find weekly color updates and information to help you plan leaf-peeping adventures and scenic drives at www.ohiodnr.com/fallcolor. It also features my weekly videos highlighting color hot spots and informative tidbits about some of Ohio’s 100-plus tree species.
What’s your favorite place to take in Ohio’s colorful season?
Casey Burdick, Fall Color Forester for the Ohio Department of Natural Resources, introduces us to fall color in Ohio. Be sure to visit our Autumn Adventures section of DiscoverOhio.com for weekly Fall Color Reports from ODNR, along with information on exciting fall Events, Farm Markets & Wineries, 3 Day Getaways and more!