Go outside and enjoy the fall colors

Peak leaf color should appear in southern Ohio just in time for Halloween week. CONTRIBUTED

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Peak leaf color should appear in southern Ohio just in time for Halloween week. CONTRIBUTED

Vibrant red, golden yellow, rich purple and brilliant orange — fall introduces a dazzling array of colors along with cool, crisp temperatures.

While much of the Miami Valley foliage is still sporting green leaves, it won’t be long before Southwestern Ohio comes alive with vivid colors overhead and crunchy leaves underfoot. What better time to hike, bike, paddle or just take a stroll and enjoy the sights and sounds of fall.

Forecasting fall color can be complex as multiple variables impact the timing and brilliance, including sunlight, temperature, wind and rainfall. This fall, according to Ohio Department of Natural Resources urban forestry program manager Tyler Stevenson, peak leaf color should appear in southern Ohio just in time for Halloween week. The northern third of Ohio is already near peak.

“We had a warmer-than-usual start to this month, so that affected it somewhat,” Stevenson said. “But sunny days and lower temperatures at night will help bring out more vibrant colors.”

Stevenson said to expect to spot the bright reds of the black gum and some maple trees first, followed by the russet shades of the oaks and the bright yellow of the ginkgo trees a bit later.

The canopy of color is inviting to hardcore outdoor enthusiasts and weekend festival-goers alike.

“The fall color season provides Ohioans with a great opportunity to enjoy our state parks, forests and nature preserves,” ODNR director James Zehringer said. “Across the state, communities host festivals and events that welcome the changing season and provide added incentive to get out and enjoy Ohio’s fall color season.”

If falling leaves bring on the dread of raking, Stevenson has some good news. Instead of clearing all the leaves away, he suggests leaving some around shrubs and trees — keeping the leaves two or three inches away from the trunk.

“Trees are the ultimate recyclers,” he said. “The leaves, branches and other organic material break down and feed the root system. They are continually recycling that material.”

Less time doing yard work means more time to enjoy the great outdoors.

People interested in finding out where to find most eye-catching leaves throughout the Ohio fall season should visit fallcolor.ohiodnr.gov. Ohio’s official guide to the changing color includes weekly color updates and information to help plan a fall color adventure as well as videos from ODNR naturalists highlighting fall color hot spots around the state.


What: Spend a day in Hocking State Forest and learn from professional foresters about Ohio's forest resources.

When: Oct. 20, 10 a.m.-3 p.m.

Where: Hocking State Forest Headquarters, 19275 Ohio 374, Rockbridge

Activities: New trail unveiling; portable sawmill demonstration; wagon rides through the forest; tree identification; bean soup and cornbread; sawdust hunt for the kids — complete with prizes.

Parking: Available at the forest headquarters. All activities are within walking distance.

More info: fallcolor.ohiodnr.gov/

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