Why do leaves change color in the fall, why they haven’t yet in Cleveland

People are confused by the warm weather this fall and apparently so are the leaves - this is when you can expect fall colors to arrive in CLE

Why haven’t leaves changed colors in Cleveland?

Have you noticed that leaves are still green?

Firey red, orange and yellow leaves are the hallmark of autumn but you might’ve noticed the leaves around Cleveland haven’t changed color. FoliageNetwork.com even reports that “In Ohio, things are still slow to get going.”

So, what’s the deal? 

Apparently, the warm wet fall is the culprit.

Northeast Ohio usually sees peek fall foliage colors around October 15th but the record-breaking high temps have delayed things a bit. In a cleveland.com article Beth Whitely, a naturalist at the Rocky River Nature Center stated, “The warm and wet fall has produced very strong and hearty green leaves,” she said. “The change of color comes when the chlorophyll dies, and the true colors of the leaves are revealed. We’re not seeing the anthocyanin (red and purple) or the carotenoid (yellow and orange) colors because the trees are not stressed by drought. Less stress equals healthier trees. It means they stay green longer.”

“It’s just a delay. Be patient, the leaves will change color eventually.”

Greg Smith, the fall color forester of the Ohio Department of Natural Resources (yes, that’s a real job) told cleveland.com, to be on the lookout for vibrant fall colors “later in the month” and that “we’re anticipating really nice colors.”

Get ready to get peepin!


For more fall fun check out the CLE Weekend Fall Festival guide for activities made for sunny autumn days to crisp fall evenings.