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Fall Leaf Colors On Schedule, But Rainy Weather Taking Toll
Updated October 15, 2014 1:37 PM
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(UNDATED) - The fall color display for trees is on schedule across most of Indiana, although recent cool, rainy and windy weather is likely to slow the color change and knock leaves from trees, according to DNR community and urban forester Carrie Tauscher.

The result could be a shorter viewing season.

"Across Indiana, we're seeing yellows and oranges now," Tauscher said. "Tulip poplar sycamore, sweetgum, cottonwood and some of the understory trees like sasafrass are starting to turn and give some great gold colors"

Tauscher said sugar maples will come into full color along with the oaks between now and early November.

Leaves produce pigments that give them color. During spring and summer, the green pigment, chlorophyll, is dominant. When days become shorter, other pigments in the leaf become visible as the amount of chlorophyll dwindles.

Best fall color formation happens when there are bright, warm days, cool nights and moist soils.

"With the cold rainy days we've had recently, I'm hoping for some sunny, relatively warm days to start pushing color," Tauscher said.

In southern Indiana, conditions are different. Tauscher said less rain earlier in the season has resulted in drier soils, accelerating and slightly diminishing the color change. Nonetheless, tourists and communities that depend on leaf viewing shouldn't worry. The fall color each year is something different and special, she said.

"They're still going to have nice color," Tauscher said. "Madison and other communities that promote tourism will still be beautiful."

While enjoying Indiana's fall foliage, Hoosiers should consider planting trees on their properties. Order forms are now available for ordering tree seedlings from Indiana's state nurseries for spring delivery. The trees are available at a nominal cost for reforestation purposes, with 100 trees being a minimum order. For more information, visit

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