Fall Color Report for the week of October 14, 2019

Welcome to the Fall Color Report for October 14, 2019. Bottomland landscapes are changing fast with some leaves already dropping. Many of the upland trees are still green, but will be changing color very soon. Next week is looking to be the prime viewing week for a full array of color. 

Report Date Area Description of Fall Color Est. Peak Viewing
10/14/19 NE Iowa The fall color show has finally arrived after being delayed by all the warm, humid weather from recent weeks. The hard maples are starting to turn their typical yellow, orange and red. The aspen are now a brilliant yellow and some oak trees are beginning to turn golden brown. This weekend should be very nice for leaf peeping. Oct. 20th
10/7/2019 NC and NW Iowa There is still a lot of green in the landscape but more trees are starting to turn color.  Walnuts, ash, elms, cottonwood, basswood, locusts, and some hickories are yellowing and some are losing leaves. Sumac, dogwood, and virginia creeper are showing reds.  Some sugar and black maple are starting to show some orange but it is still minimal.   Mid-October
Central Iowa Hard maples are turning color now in the Iowa River Greenbelt and at area State Parks. The yellows from ash, elm, hickory, and cottonwood are offering really good color too. Poison ivy is at its peak with colorful yellow, orange, and pink vining up the trunks of trees. Oaks are just getting started and still a week away from good color. Oct 19
10/11/19    SE Iowa The overall landscape is still green. Walnut, cottonwood, black cherry, ash, and elms are starting to turn yellow and drop a few leaves.  Maple is still mostly green, but there are a few branches showing some yellow and red. Some sumac, poison ivy, and dogwoods starting to show some reds, and purples.
Oct 20
SCentral Iowa There is starting to be some great color out there although the overall upland landscape is still green as oak has not started to change much yet. White ash is deep purple and many bottomland species like walnut, silver maple, hackberry, and green ash have nice yellow color. Bottomland areas and edges are dropping leaves. Sumac and ivy are bright oranges and reds. Hard maples are starting to change in urban areas. Mid- Late October
10/14/19 WC and SW Iowa Driving from Omaha to Pisgah last Friday allowed me to see excellent fall colors. Red and oranges from shrubs are hanging around nicely thanks to the cool nights and warm days. Most tree species are turning quickly with plenty of vivid yellow showing and some silver maples are showing orange and light red. Many of the areas red oaks are changing quickly. Most of the bur oaks are just beginning. Overall this may be the best week for fall colors, but next week will likely be the peak. Mid- 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