Northern Iowa is nearing peak color this week and the color is nearly as good as it’s going to get and color is abundant and easily found. Peak will arrive by the end of this week here. A bit farther north peak color can already be found in northern Wisconsin where it is quite beautiful right now. The southern two-thirds of Iowa is now in moderate color status with cities in the far south not really seeing much color yet. Most-to-all regions are reporting that fall colors are not as bright and beautiful as past years.
Here in central and southern Iowa, color is improving a bit this week mostly because Maple species are nearing peak, because of this fall color is better in cities and urban areas than in the country. In areas where Maples are abundant, color is decent to even quite nice. The Red Maple in my yard is still trying to turn orange. Other than the Maples mentioned, the color is pretty dull this year. Early trees are a total wash at this point and have dropped most of their leaves, leaving many just bare. Some isolated Oak species are starting to show a hint of orange this week and Hickories are turning yellow, as are Sliver Maples. Burning bush continues to turn fire-red. Even with all these trees turning, there is still plenty of green to be seen. I would say 45% of the trees in my area have turned or lost leaves. I continue to estimate peak color to arrive in the middle of the last week of October this year here, and it could last into the first week of November.
Do you think that just because we are nearing the end of October that we shouldn’t be seeing anymore flowers coming in bloom? WRONG! This week Autumn Crocus (crocus speciosus) is just coming into flower. This is a new addition for me and I really like this plant because of the extra late bloom time. It was quite a surprising little flower because it popped up overnight it seemed which adds excitement in a season where most plants are getting ready for dormancy.