DNR leaf photo.

Fall colors are reaching their peak this week in the trees of northeast Iowa according to the Iowa Department of Natural Resources, with maple leaves in central Iowa starting to change colors.

“The colors have really kind of turned a corner this week,” says Joe Herring, a forester with the Iowa Department of Natural Resources who is based in Iowa Falls.

Herring says ash trees in his neighborhood have turned yellow. “We’re starting to see other species are yellow, like elms, cottonwoods, walnuts,” Herring says. “And I’m just starting to see more reds kind of punctuating the landscape at this point from maples (and), of course, woodbine and sumacs. Woodbine is also known as Virginia Creeper and it’s a very brilliant red vine that climbs up trees.”

Herring says the wet, cold spring caused fungal diseases on some leaves in some areas of the state, then during the summer drought some of the state’s red oaks, pin oaks and bur oaks seemed to suffer.

“They were flagging red or brown spots across their entire crowns and then also some species just kind of ‘give up the ghost’ a little bit earlier in drought years and they start dropping some leaves early or they’ll just be turning kind of brown, so I do think that’s going to negatively impact the fall colors a little bit this year,” Herring says, “but overall we should still have a good show.”

According to the Iowa DNR’s website, the trees in southwest and west central Iowa are just beginning to show their fall colors, while the landscape view in southeast Iowa is still green. The agency’s weekly report shows a mix of fall colors in other areas of the state.

(By Pat Powers, KQWC, Webster City; Radio Iowa’s O. Kay Henderson also contributed to this story.)