Fall Color Report


Report Date Area Description of Fall Color Est. Peak Viewing
10/3/2022 NE Iowa

The Fall color season is progressing nicely. Cottonwood, hackberry, elm, basswood and walnut are turning yellow. Virginia creeper and sumac are turning red and orange. The hillsides have splashes of color mostly from sugar maples. Fall colors appear more vibrant this year possibly due to the recent crisp, fall-like weather.  

Oct. 8-15
10/3/2022 NC and NW Iowa

Yellows and oranges mixed with green dot the landscape. Ash, cottonwood, walnut, and honey locust are showing more yellows. Cottonwoods are vibrant.  Silver maples are just starting to lighten in color. Amur maples, sumac, and virginia creeper vines are fully red. Dogwoods are showing some purple or red.

Oct. 8-15
10/3/2022 Central Iowa

Ash, walnut, cottonwood, and bur oaks are all yellow.  Roadside sumac are bright red along with virginia creeper vines. More maples are turning red and yellow now. Poison ivy has turned all shades of yellow, orange, and red. Major river valleys like the Des Moines, Boone, and Iowa rivers are at 20-25% color change.  The weather this past 10 days has been excellent for promoting good colors.

Oct. 15-23
9/23/2022 SE Iowa

Most of the landscape is still green. Elm, walnut, ash and cottonwood are starting to show a tinge of yellow. White ash and dogwood are showing a little bit of purple. Some urban maples are just starting to show a little red and orange.

Oct. 20
10/5/2022 SCentral Iowa

Much of the landscape is still green. Drought stress is evident across the area. Sumacs, Virginia creeper and ivy vines are bright red. Early changing walnuts are nearly done. A few swamp white oaks are starting to show yellow. Maples are just starting to change to burgundy and oranges.

3rd week of October

10/3/2022 WC and SW Iowa

Expect to see some yellow and some reds this week. Most shrubs will be at peak color, which provide most of our reds. Ash, cottonwood and walnuts are changing or will change very soon with lots of yellow. Fall prairie flowers are still showy this week to bring vivid colors to your prairie hikes.

3rd week of October


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Fall Tree Color Information

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 Color - Legend and Facts

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.

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

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.

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


Printable Fall Colors State of Iowa Map