When to expect colorful fall foliage in Cleveland
It's officially fall next week, and leaves are expected to start changing colors shortly thereafter.
State of play: Patchy color will begin to pop up between Sept. 25 and Oct. 2, according to SmokyMountains.com's annual U.S. fall foliage prediction map.
- But don't expect those bright reds, oranges and yellows to arrive here until late October.
Pro tip: The week of Oct. 16 is expected to offer "near peak" color in Northeast Ohio, and trees should be at peak vibrancy the week of Oct. 23.
How it works: The green color in leaves comes from chlorophyll, the pigment that helps plants turn sunlight into energy via photosynthesis, Axios Columbus reports.
- As nights lengthen during fall and there's less sunlight, leaves stop making chlorophyll.
- The green color fades and allows leaves to show their true colors.
- Ohio learned that in 2021, when an unseasonably warm October led to a late, lackluster display of fall color.
- But 2022 was one of the "best years ever," due to ample summer rain and cool fall nights, David Parrott, fall color forester for the Ohio Department of Natural Resources, tells Axios.
What we're watching: ODNR publishes a fall color progress map to help with planning leaf-peeping trips, so keep an eye on this page for updates starting in mid-September.
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