I’m happy to say that here in central Ohio the autumn color show is at its high point- a favorite time of year for me.  The colors seemed to have peaked around Halloween, which is a week or two later than previously if memory serves…I’m going to try to keep track of such things in the future to watch for trends.

A couple of years ago (wow, time flies!) I posted about autumn foliage– why trees get so colorful this time of year.  I figured I’d look at a different aspect of autumn colors this year.

Interestingly enough, there is an order to the riot of colors, specifically which trees turn colorful at what times.  Here’s what I noticed this autumn about what got colorful when.

A Little Color (last half of September)

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As early as mid-September I saw Sassafras trees turning from green to yellow orange and red- these are the earliest trees to do so in my neck of the woods.  Unlike many other trees, they get very colorful very quickly.  Sassafras trees aren’t very common, but when they look like this they’re quite easy to spot!

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Also notable for showing some color were the occasional Sumac trees.

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In late September, the first common trees I noticed changing color were the Black Walnuts- their upper leaves got yellow, then the lower leaves, and then suddenly it seemed most of the Walnut trees were bare.  Once they start, Walnuts don’t mess around.  Later on, other trees like Cottonwoods and Honey Locusts would get bare as well.

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The occasional Maple would show some color by late September, usually just a portion of the leaves.  Most Maples were still green.

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Even the odd Oak tree would have stray patches of color.

More Color (early October)

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Come early October, Hickory trees began to turn yellow.  This is a common species here, and so the amount of color was increasing.

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Funny enough, Sycamores seem to go rapidly from green to brown in coloration.

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By mid-October, the Maples got into high gear- since Maples are quite common, this was a tipping point to where it looked like the woods were more colorful than ever.  Maples love the color yellow, which turns to orange and red in some trees.  These are usually the brightest colors in the woods.  A mature Maple wood resembles a golden cathedral.

Full Color (late October)

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Sweet Gum trees are quite brilliant in their colors once they turn.

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Beech trees have also joined in.  And, last but not least…

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Oaks are the last of the trees to break out in their stately colors.  It was late October before they took the plunge.  Once Oaks join in, you are at the peak color season- enjoy!

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