Forecasting how vivid and durable fall color will be is not an exact science, but like spring flowers and summer sunshine, fall color surely will arrive in Ohio.
Casey Burdick, fall color forester for the Ohio Department of Natural Resources, said 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, rainfall and wind when predicting 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 can produce a delay in leaf color change while windstorms knock down leaves, quickly drawing a curtain on fall's color parade.
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A decrease in daylight hours 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.
The ODNR fall color webpage is a guide to Ohio's fall color season, posting weekly color updates and information to help plan leaf-peeping adventures.
Weekly videos from Burdick will highlight color hot spots around the state and provide informative tidbits about some of Ohio's 100-plus tree species. The page also offers helpful links for leaf collecting tips, scenic road trips and more.
The Ohio Division of Travel and Tourism has numerous itinerary ideas for fall getaways at www.discoverohio.com under their Autumn Adventures feature.