Fall Leaves are Beginning to Show in the Area

Here in northern Iowa, fall begins to show its colors right at the changing of the seasons. Some trees are beginning to show their fall color. Dogwood and Virginia creeper are turning red, orange and yellow. Some trees that have been under stress from this summer’s heat and drought are dropping their leaves a bit early including some elm, maple, walnut, cottonwood and others.

The tree canopies are showing splashes of a yellow orange color. The Sumacs are just starting to turn bright red. chokecherries are changing to yellow or shades of red and purple. Look for the peak season in northern Iowa to be between October 5th through the 10th.

Fall Color Map


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.

Here is a refresher on some ways to identify the various trees you see:

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.


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