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Countdown to fall colors

Posted at 2:42 PM, Sep 24, 2018
and last updated 2018-09-24 18:22:09-04

The grass is still growing and flowers are still blooming, but we have officially entered fall, which means changes are coming soon.

One of the most noticeable changes, and a favorite for many, is the tree leaves changing colors. 

UNL Extension Horticulture Program coordinator Scott Evans explains why the leaves turn those beautiful shades of yellow, orange, and red.

"That green will mask those carotenoid pigments that are always there, so once that chlorophyll starts to fade out, we start seeing all the yellows," Evans explains.

Trees begin to make less chlorophyll when temperatures begin to drop and our daylight hours get shorter. And there are certain weather types that promote brighter colors.

"We want nice, warm days with cool evenings.That's really going to stimulate bright color change," he adds.

On the flip side, other kinds of weather will have a negative impact on the color changing process.

"If we have overcast or lots of rain, that color change might not be as intense or a little bit more muted, and those leaves aren't going to hang on as long as they normally could," Evans says.

Most area trees still green, but we are starting to see a few of them turn colors, mainly into that bright yellow. There's still a few more weeks though, until we reach that peak color season here in eastern Nebraska, as that's usually mid October.

In a couple weeks, it may be worth a drive around the area to check out some of the bright colors.

"The Loess Hills are always a wonderful place because they have such a diversity of trees," he adds.

Different kinds of trees will also produce a wide variety of vibrant fall colors, so keep an eye out for them.

"You wanna be looking for your oaks, your hickories, your ash, your maple. All those just give a really wide range of color," Evans explains.