Forecasting the vivid oranges, reds and yellows of changing leaves during the fall season is not always predictable, but beautiful fall color will surely be visible in Ohio this year. Casey Burdick, fall color forester for the Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR), says Ohioans can expect to see the state’s woodlands awash in a rich palette of textures in hues – barring any major wind or rain storms.
Fall foliage forecasters must take into account several variables such as sunlight, temperature, wind and rainfall when calculating the brilliance and longevity of Ohio’s autumn color. Bright, sunny September days and cool nights tend to make the red, orange and bronze colors in leaves more intense. Early frosts often cause trees to prematurely build a barrier between the leaves and branches. This barrier – known as an abscission layer – prevents carbohydrates and water from passing in and out of leaves, thus turning leaves “ahead of schedule.” Dry conditions may delay leaf color change while windstorms knock down leaves, quickly closing fall’s vibrant colors.
Fewer hours of daylight triggers an autumnal transformation in some trees. This shift causes green chlorophyll to break down, revealing the gold, yellow, orange and brown hues of Ohio’s beech, birch and hickory trees.
The leaves of many “sugary” trees such as maples, dogwoods, and sweet gums, undergo a chemical change prompted by the arrival of mid to-late September’s cool nights and sunny days. The leaves of these trees react with a showy display of deep red, purple, russet and bronze shades.
Want to know where the most captivating leaves will be throughout the upcoming fall color season? Check out fallcolor.ohiodnr.com, ODNR’s premier guide to Ohio’s fall color season, with weekly color updates and information to help plan adventures to find stunning autumn leaves. Weekly videos from Burdick will highlight color hot spots around the state and provide information about some of Ohio’s 100-plus tree species. Burdick’s fall color forecast will be highlighted next week. This page also offers helpful links for leaf collecting tips, scenic road trips and more.
For more great fall getaway ideas, visit the Ohio State Parks’ website at ohiodnr.com/parks. The Ohio Division of Travel and Tourism also has numerous itinerary ideas at discoverohio.com under their Autumn Adventures feature.
ODNR ensures a balance between wise use and protection of our natural resources for the benefit of all. Visit the ODNR website at ohiodnr.com.