Fall Leaves
Iowa's Fall Colors - Weekly Update

For fall conditions across the state see the report below, or call 515-233-4110.



Area Description of Fall Color - Sept 17, 2018 Report Est. Peak Viewing
NE Iowa The cottonwood and silver maple along the river bottoms are showing some yellow. The hills and bluffs are changing from the dark green of summer to a lighter shade of green indicating the color change is not far off. Another week to ten days should bring considerable change to the area. Oct 13
NC and NW Iowa No report  
Central Iowa Most trees are still mostly showing green. Some are starting to show yellow or have been yellow for a short time such as walnuts. Ohio buckeyes have red leaves in some areas. 3rd wk of Oct
SE Iowa Some ash, cottonwood, and walnut starting to show some yellow. White ash and dogwood starting to show some purple. This is just the start of colors and most everything else is still green. Oct 20
SCentral Iowa We are starting to see some color! Cottonwood, elm, and walnut in the bottomlands are changing to yellow and starting to drop. The sumac and dogwood have nice reddish-purple color. White ash is starting to show some muted purple color. The upland landscape is still mostly green. 2nd-3rd wk of Oct
WC and SW Iowa Not much color to be seen yet. There is a little bit of yellow in the cottonwood trees. The prairie flowers are in full bloom. The crops are a golden color and some are being harvested. 2nd-3rd wk of Oct

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Fall Colors in Iowa

Fall is often one of the best times in Iowa, with warm days and cool nights, low humidity, very few insects  and the brilliant autumn colors of our trees.

Every year, thousands of Iowans and visitors flock to the countryside to view nature's colorful display of red, orange, yellow and purple leaves.

Looking for ways to enjoy Iowa's fall color? Visit Iowa Tourism.

Fall Tree Color Information

Fall Color - Legend and Facts


Ash: 
Green ash leaves turn yellow, but white ash has a purplish cast. The leaves fall after those of walnut trees, but earlier than  those of oaks and maples.

Elms: 
Elm leaves turn various shades of yellow with some turning brown before falling, others falling while still yellow.

Hickory: 
Leaves turn yellow on hickory trees, then brown before falling.

Maple (Soft): 
The leaves of soft (silver) maples turn yellow but do not turn brown before falling.

Maple (Hard): 
Brilliant flame red hues are the signature of hard maple leaves. The red pigmentation of some leaves breaks down before falling.

Bur Oak: 
Buff to yellow colors predominate in bur oaks. The leaves remain on the tree and turn brown before falling.

Oak (Red): 
The red oaks have brilliant red leaves in fall though the color is probably not as intense as that of some hard maples.

Oak (White): 
White oaks have a more subdued purple fall leaf color. The leaves then turn brown and often stay on the tree until new leaves begin to grow in the spring.

Fall Colors Hotline

Statewide Conditions
515-233-4110


When do colors peak?

Peak fall color occurs in northeast Iowa, on average, during  the weekend closest to October 10.

Typically, peak fall color occurs progressively later the farther south you go in Iowa. Perhaps the most important thing about fall color is having the time to enjoy it.

Fall Color Map

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Printable Fall Colors State of Iowa Map