Fall in the Miami Valley: When will the leaves change colors?

Credit: DaytonDailyNews

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Fall in Ohio can be a beautiful time of year. Meteorologist Kirstie Zontini and McCall Vrydaghs talked to ODNR about what to expect this year.

Credit: DaytonDailyNews

Fall color change occurs when the daylight hours shorten, and the temperatures get cooler.

The chlorophyll production breaks down and the rich colors of yellows, golds, reds and purple emerge.

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Trees want to pull the nutrients back into the roots to help fuel them into the winter.

As the fall color season continues and temperatures drop further, the tree then produces an abscission layer which eventually cuts the leaf off from the stem.

At this point, all it would take is a light breeze or rain for the leaves to fall. Once on the ground, the leaves will decompose, and the roots of the tree will take in the remaining nutrients.

Ohio Department of Natural Resource’s Urban Forestry Program Manager, Tyler Stevenson says a hot, drought summer can stress trees.

Very wet weather could potentially lead to more diseases in years to come.

Stevenson doesn't expect the weather this summer to have a huge impact on color change this year and the wet weather we’ve seen isn’t necessarily a bad thing.

“I wouldn’t say that the wet would impede. In fact, I think it would help with the drought kind of shortens our fall color experience,” Stevenson said.

The biggest factors for the best fall color is the change in daylight hours and temperature.

Colors will be vibrant when we have temperatures at night in the low 50s or upper 40s and bright sunny days.

This October, the first two weeks are forecast to stay very mild.

Leaves will continue to change through the month, but may not be as vibrant as past years.

ODNR foresters say that the northern third of the state will get peak colors near the middle of the month.

The central third, which includes the Miami Valley, peaks towards the end of October, usually around Oct 22.

The far southern part of the state typically can peak at the end of the month through early November.

Once colors do change, windy or rainy weather can cause a quick drop of leaves. Hopefully, calm weather takes over towards the end of October to help keep the leaves on the trees.

Your Storm Center 7 team will also be sharing the fall color reports from the Ohio Department of Natural resources all month, so you can see when the state parks begin to see color change.

ODNR has more information about state parks to visit and the types of trees you can identify the colors for on their website. http://ohiodnr.gov/

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