Late Fall Foliage Finally Colors Northeast Ohio Trees

It’s Halloween, and the trees are finally wearing a colorful costume of their own. Fall foliage arrived late in Northeast Ohio, but Cleveland Metroparks naturalist Marty Calabrese says “better late than never.”

“Right now we are seeing the yellows, the greens, oranges and reds and everything behind me. The full spectrum!” Calabrese said. “But it is late, and why? We’ve calculated it’s at least 14 days behind.”

Calabrese says lots of rain in late summer and above average temperatures in early fall are to blame. Trees lose their leaves when they are under stress, and the past few months just haven’t been very stressful. But now, colder temperatures are here, and it’s sending a signal to Mother Nature.

“As winter marches forward, fall is cueing those trees to pull back on their chlorophyll production, to decrease photosynthesis, allowing the photosynthetic partner of chlorophyll, the xanthophylls and carotenes-- which are the yellows and orange pigments that we see-- allowing those to shine through,” Calabrese said.

This natural artwork won’t be around for long. Calabrese says the colorful leaves will stay as long as the weather remains above freezing and it’s not too windy, but that’s in a perfect world.

“Any day now the weather’s going to tank. We are going to get high winds. We are going to get heavy rains. So get out there, see these colors,” Calabrese said. “Cleveland Metroparks is your one-stop destination for seeing this multi-hued, this variety, the full package of fall foliage.”

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