DNR leaf color map.

The ping-pong nature of the weather so far this year could impact the type of quality of the fall leaf colors.

Iowa DNR state forester Jeff Goerndt says things were trending toward an early pop of color. “Look for possibly an early fall leaf change because of some of the drier weather, but that could change with some of the cooler temperatures in the forecast,” Goerndt says. He admits there’s no easy way to tell exactly when the leaves will change.

“Fall color is really a hard thing to predict, there’s just so many different factors that are involved in how leaves turn color,” according to Goerndt. “Generally hot or dry weather is not a bad thing for fall color. It’s usually produce some brighter colors — especially some of the brighter red colors — as long as it doesn’t get too hot or too dry.” Goerndt says the trees may be like most people as the weather patterns switch back and forth.

“This year it was hotter and drier earlier and then it’s sort of gotten wet in some areas, and so you’ve got some of that back and forth. So, the trees are probably wondering what to do,” Goerndt says. There are some conditions that usually always lead to a colorful leaf display.

“Generally for fall color, brighter sunny days and cool nights are usually a good thing for fall color,” Goerndt says. “If we get some wet weather from here on out — that could kind of make for some duller, slower changing trees.” Goerndt says weather that is too hot and dry causes trees to drop their leaves early, or causes them to turn brown.