OHIO VALLEY — More than a week into the fall season and the leaves on trees seem to be changing rapidly. The Ohio Department of Natural Resources (DNR) and the West Virginia Division of Forestry (DOF) are providing maps and foliage updates to see some of the colorful sites throughout each state.
Ohio’s DNR began its fall color reports Sept. 30. But in a press release from last week, ODNR said they expect to see “stunning fall colors throughout Ohio this year.”
The ODNR also provided insight as to how they estimate fall foliage colors.
“Forecasting fall color can be difficult as foresters must consider several variables such as sunlight, temperature, wind, and rainfall when estimating the intensity and longevity of leaf color. This year, the ODNR Division of Forestry is expecting peak color to arrive in mid-to-late October,” the press release read.
According to ODNR Fall Color Forester Jamie Regula’s statement in the release, “patches of colors” were expected to be seen in the northern part of the state at the beginning of this week.
“Ohio is fortunate to have 125 different tree species which will provide a wide spectrum of colors ranging from deep reds to golden and light yellows. Look for species such as black gum, ash and the Ohio buckeye that will be some of the first to change color,” read Regula’s statement in the press release.
The DOF recently released their updated fall foliage map for 2020. On the map, counties and areas in West Virginia are color coded based on when the leaf colors should peak in that area. In Mason County, the leaves are expected to peak at full color in late October.
Leaves were expected to peak in late September for a small portion of the central eastern part of the state. In much of the Allegheny Mountains — including Webster, Randolph, Tucker, Pendleton, Grant, Mineral and Preston counties — the leaves are expected to peak in early October. The more central parts of the state are expected to see a peak in mid-October.
The DOF often posts updates on when and where leaves are turning throughout the state.
The fall foliage page on the DOF’s website has information on which types of trees turn specific colors. According to the DOF, most trees turn yellow in West Virginia. But many are also multi-colored — including hawthorn, hazel nut, hornbeam, red maple, sugar maple, persimmon, sassafras, sweet gum, sycamore and some oaks, including black, blackjack, and white. Other oaks have leaves that turn brown or shades of red.
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Kayla (Hawthorne) Dunham is a staff writer for Ohio Valley Publishing. Reach her at (304) 675-1333, ext. 1992.