Cloudy with a Chance of Podcast: Fall colors to arrive for the changing season

Fall color: What to expect in Ohio this year

Cloudy with a Chance for Podcast traveled outside to Sycamore State Park for this week’s episode.

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Fall has officially begun and this season produces beautiful color’s across the Miami Valley and the state. Ohio Department of Natural Resource’s Urban Forestry Program Manager sat down with Meteorologist Kirstie Zontini and McCall Vrydaghs to talk about the importance of trees, why leaves change color and what we can expect for Fall 2018.

Tyler Stevenson went to Virginia Tech for undergraduate studies and continued to Penn State where he completed his master’s in forestry. Stevenson says the urban forestry program is coming into its 40th year. The program works with cities, villages or townships to improve how trees are used and planted to improve irrigation, reduce heat, and improve air quality. Stevenson also works with the state foresters to track the state park’s color change.

Fall color change occurs when the daylight hours shorten, and the temperatures get cooler.

The chlorophyll production breaks down and the rich colors of yellows, golds, reds and purple emerge. Trees want to pull the nutrients back into the tree to help fuel them into the winter.

As fall color season continues and temperatures drop further, the tree then produces an abscission layer when cuts the leaves off from the stem. A breeze or rain then allows these leaves to drop and when they decompose the roots take in the remaining moisture.

Stevenson says a hot, drought summer can stress trees. Very wet weather could also eventually lead to more diseases.

The biggest driver for the best fall color is daylight and temperature. Colors will be vibrant when we have temperatures at night in the low 50s and upper 40s and on bright sunny days.

In the podcast Stevenson explains how the sunshine can help. Once colors do change, windy or rainy weather can cause a quick drop of leaves.

This year, Stevenson doesn’t think the weather will have a huge impact on overall fall color. He expects the Miami Valley to see peak colors towards late October. The beginning of the month, your Storm Center 7 team is forecasting warmer than normal weather for the first two weeks. This could impact how vibrant colors are. Vibrant colors are produced during warm, sunny days and cool but not freezing nights.

ODNR has more information about state parks to visit and the types of trees you can identify the colors for on their website. http://ohiodnr.gov/

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