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Fall Color Report

Report Date Area Description of Fall Color Est. Peak Viewing
10/19/2020 NE Iowa The fall color season is winding down in Northeast, Iowa. Recent winds and rains have dropped most of our leaves. However, there is still some fall color around if you know where to look. For example, the Mississippi River bluffs are still holding lots of color due to the modifying influence from the warm river water. Oct. 10-15
10/19/2020 NC and NW Iowa After rain and wind storms this past week most of the leaves have dropped. Yellows and oranges can still be seen between bare trees. If you go on a hike, the understory plants are a reddish orange. Gooseberries are turning purple, yellow and red. In towns, some trees still have leaves and may be the best place to catch the last bit of fall color. Oct. 10-17
10/26/2020
Central Iowa Leaf color is past its peak and the colors are fading from the landscape.  But if you park the car and go for a hike on a local trail, you'll still find plenty of interesting colors hanging on in the oaks, maples, shrubs, vines, and ground flora.     Oct 10-17
10/26/2020    SE Iowa Still plenty of colors out there in SE Iowa.  There should be a few more days of color but it is disappearing fast. Oct. 12-22
10/26/2020
SCentral Iowa While some of the oak are still holding leaves, the wind and rain are taking its toll on most other species.  Where there are still leaves, the color is vibrant.  Overall upland landscape is rusty reds from oak, bottomlands and edges are mostly bare or falling quickly.  Hard maple in urban areas are still holding leaves and have deep oranges and reds.     Oct. 10-20
10/26/2020 WC and SW Iowa Well past the peak. If you leave the road and hike you can still find color scenes with red mulberry, cottonwood, sumac and ash still holding on to some leaves. Oct. 8-12

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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


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.

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