Here’s a Map of When Pennsylvania’s Leaves Will Be the Most Colorful

There are rumors circulating that Pennsylvania's leaves won't change colors this year because of the drought. Don't fall prey to those rumors.

Pennsylvania Fall Foliage

Courtesy of the Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources
Bureau of Forestry

Fall is officially here, whether it feels like it or not (it doesn’t), and that means the leaves are a-changin’.

If some Debbie Downer has been telling you that Pennsylvania’s leaves will hardly change colors this year because of the drought, fret not: The leaves will still turn all the colors, and the state Bureau of Forestry’s weekly maps will show you how to optimize your autumn leaf watching.

The leaves will hit their most colorful peak in Philadelphia between October 21st and October 31st, according to a Pennsylvania fall foliage report from the Bureau of Forestry at the state’s Department of Conservation and Natural Resources.

Those looking for optimal leaf viewing in the southern region of Pennsylvania should scout along Route 30 and the Pennsylvania Turnpike, between Carlisle and the Allegheny front, according to the bureau. Route 81 from the Susquehanna River to Wilkes-Barre will also have some great views.

The bureau said this year’s fall foliage will be “a study of tree microclimate,” because harsh droughts experienced in some localized parts of the state could lead to “premature development of the abscission layer at the base of the leaf stem to protect the tree from moisture loss.” In other words, the colors might not be as bright as they could be in some places. That’s increasingly likely in areas with dry, shallow or rocky soils, but overall, the bureau seems optimistic about the fall spectacle.

In fact, the Bureau of Forestry even went so far as to say that Pennsylvania’s autumns are the arguably best in the world because of state’s variety of tree species. The state has trees with leaves that tend to turn red and orange, like red maple, sumac, blackgum, dogwood and serviceberry, as well as trees with leaves that turn yellow, like birch, tulip tree, sugar maple, aspen, hickory, walnut and sycamore.

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