Fall Color Report


Report Date Area Description of Fall Color Est. Peak Viewing
9/23/2022 NE Iowa

Fall colors are beginning to tinge the forest canopy. Staghorn sumac and Virginia creeper are turning red, and asters are in full bloom. Some scattered maples are starting to turn bright orange and the white pine tree’s 2-year old needles are turning yellow and beginning to drop.

Oct. 10-15
9/26/2022 NC and NW Iowa

Ash trees were the first to flaunt their fall colors. They are yellow and even brown at this time. Walnuts, cottonwoods, elms, boxelders and grape vines are starting to turn yellow. Virginia creeper is showing a range of colors like red, maroon, purple and orange. Sumacs and chokecherries are shades of purple and red. Gooseberries are showing off some pink colors. Plums are starting to show reds and orange.

Oct. 8-14
9/23/2022 Central Iowa

Yellows are appearing in ash, walnut, cottonwood, and bur oaks. Reds are coming on nicely in roadside sumac and poison ivy, Virginia creeper, and a few maples in town. Dogwood trees change colors early with purples and maroons

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
  SCentral Iowa

No Report

9/26/2022 WC and SW Iowa

Some early color is starting to show. Dry area sumac and ash are turning red and yellow. Fall prairie plants are in full bloom with plenty of asters and blazing stars to be seen on your hikes. Lots of bright yellow flowers in full bloom.

2nd-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