Over the years, one question that gets asked every fall at the University of Illinois Extension is when the fall colors will peak in a particular area.
“Predicting peak fall color is very difficult,” horticulture educator Ron Wolford said in a news release. “Normally colors peak in northern Illinois around mid-October, but a few years ago we didn’t get peak color until late October. So peak color varies from year to year. The best fall color occurs when we have bright, sunny days and cool nights with sufficient rainfall.”
Wolford provided these websites to help in the search for the best fall color:
Miracle of Fall
This is a comprehensive fall foliage website by U of I Extension. The site has a listing of fall color updates for states across the United States. Another feature lists many major trees and shrubs with pictures of their fall color. You also can watch the changing leaves on foliage webcams.
A Walk in the Woods
Learn all about the wonders of nature by taking a virtual walk through the woods with this website from U of I Extension. Learn tips to make your walk safe and fun.
The Foliage Network
The Foliage Network collects real-time fall foliage information from their network of volunteer foliage spotters across the United States September through November. To volunteer as a foliage spotter, go to http://bit.ly/fallspotter.
State Fall Color Updates by Phone
Check out this complete listing of state fall color hotlines with the latest fall foliage information. There also are links to state fall color reports.
USDA Forest Service Fall Foliage Report
The USDA Forest Service has links to fall color reports from many national forests in the United States. They also have a fall color hotline that is operational during September at 800-354-4595.
Morton Arboretum Fall Color Report
Ed Hedborn, plant record manager at the 1,700-acre Morton Arboretum, does weekly online fall color updates September through November.
Morton Arboretum: Why Leaves Change Color
Ed Hedborn, Morton Arboretum’s color scout, provides an easy-to-understand explanation of why leaves change color.
Leafsnap: An Electronic Field Guide
This free mobile app uses visual recognition software to help identify tree species with photographs of their leaves. Use this app while on a fall walk.