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Peak Color Times

The red section of the map is expected to see peak colors from the last week of September through the second week of October. The orange section sees peak colors the first week through the third weeks of October. And the yellow section of the map sees peak colors from the second through the end of October.

North central Iowa DNR color watcher Joe Herring reported, “The peak of the fall colors is upon us here in north central Iowa and will remain good through the week of Oct 10th. Almost every species of tree, shrub, and vine has its own color to add to the mix.”

George Warford is a watcher in central Iowa. He reported, “Yellow, gold and orange colors are now plentiful in the canopies. Sugar maples are gorgeous in the towns especially, displaying their pinkish orange color. Virginia creeper and sumac are adding red spots to the landscape.”

Jessica Flatt in southern Iowa reported, “The trees are beautiful down in this part of Iowa. The oaks are turning a bronze and some red while the ash is still purple and yellow. The maples in town are bright orange and red. Elms, cottonwoods, walnuts, Virginia creeper, ivy,
the north face westfield Fall Colors Peak Across Iowa
and sumac are bright reds and at their peak!”

The DNR said that in north central Iowa this year’s peak color time is around Oct. 10 while in central Iowa it’s expected to be around Oct. 15.

Why Trees Change Color

Tree leaves contain chlorophyll, which converts sunlight into food for the trees and give them their green color. Other pigments of yellow and orange are also always present.

When the nights get longer, less sunlight time during the fall, then trees start to enter their dormant winter phase. Less light causes the chlorophyll to break down, exposing more of the yellow and orange pigments.

The colors on each tree depend on which species it is, soil acidity and the availability of trace minerals in the soils where the trees grow.

Walnut: Turns yellow in fall. One of the first to turn and drop leaves. One of the last to leaf out in spring. Red Oak: Brilliant red leaves in fall. Color probably not as intense as some hard maples. White oak: Subdued red color of leaves in fall. Then turning brown and often staying on the tree until new leaves begin to grow in the spring. Bur oak. Buff to yellow. Turning brown before falling. Hickory. Leaves turn yellow, then brown before falling. Ash. Leaves turn yellow, but some have a purplish cast. Leaves fall after walnut but earlier than oaks and maples. Elms. Leaves turn yellow, some turn brown before falling, others while still yellow. Soft maple. Leaves turn yellow. They don’t turn brown before falling. Hard Maple. Brilliant red hues. Red pigmentation of some leaves breaks down before falling. Sumac. Redder and anything, but often overlooked because it is a small tree confined to openings and edges. Virginia Creeper. Bright red. Very spectacular when it grows on dead snags.
the north face westfield Fall Colors Peak Across Iowa