Dry Summer May Hurry Onset Of Fall Color
Intensity of color and length of season depend mostly on September weather
FALL COLOR SITE | FALL PHOTOS
Columbus, OH – Summer’s generally dry conditions may speed the onset of Fall Color in Ohio this year. However, the depth of color and length of season depend mostly on September’s unpredictable weather, according to foresters with the Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR).
“We’re already starting to see changes in Ohio’s woodlands,” said Casey Munchel, Fall Color expert with the ODNR Division of Forestry. “Moisture-loving cottonwood trees began turning yellow early due to lack of rainfall. Buckeye trees, always among the first to don their fall finery, are also turning yellow. And the vivid reds that mark poison ivy vines in autumn are starting to show through in most areas.”
Fall Color’s arrival depends primarily on decreasing daylight hours – a cycle that is repeated at the same time each year without fail. Leaves begin to turn color first in northern Ohio in late September, with color quickly progressing through the southern part of the state by late October.
However, the vividness of the colors and how long colored leaves remain on the trees depend on weather and can vary from year to year, Munchel noted. The cool nights and sunny days of September are key to striking Fall Color landscapes. These varying temperatures bring on a chemical change in leaves, producing the deep russets and purples that light up Ohio’s woodlands in fall.
Moist conditions tend to keep leaves on the trees and prolong the season. However, severe windstorms can bring leaves down abruptly and cut the Fall Color season short. Conversely, periods of quiet weather can lengthen the season well into November.
Among the best places to savor the change of seasons are the local festivals that celebrate Ohio’s bountiful fall harvests. From the 31st Annual Ohio Heritage Days at Malabar Farm State Park on September 22-23 to the 100th Annual Circleville Pumpkin Show on October 17-20, autumn in Ohio is marked by celebrations and opportunities to get outside and enjoy the sights and sounds of the season.
To help Ohioans plan their outings, ODNR will begin issuing weekly Fall Color updates on October 4. The weekly Fall Color forecast will be available on the Internet at ohiodnr.com and by calling the state’s travel and tourism hotline at 1-800-BUCKEYE. It offers current reports on peak viewing opportunities at state parks, forests and nature preserves.
Photos showing the progress of autumn across Ohio this year will be posted regularly on ohiodnr.com . Ohioans will be able to submit their own photographs for inclusion on the Web page, which will offer suggestions for family activities, woodland hikes and more.
For Further Information, Contact:
Casey Munchel, ODNR Division of Forestry
Jane Beathard, ODNR Media Relations