How-To Video: Best Time to See Leaves Change Color Across Virginia


(WAVY) – It’s that time of year when daylight hours decrease and the air cools. The leaves are starting to change color and you may be wondering what the peak time is for this in your area. For much of the state of Virginia, it’s mid-October, while areas closer to the water won’t see the best colors until the end of the month.

If you are really looking for some beautiful scenery with fall colors, you will need to travel to West Virginia to see those colors over the next couple of weeks.

The Virginia Forest Department (VDOF) provides this key for Virginia trees and leaf colors:

TREE COLOR OF AUTUMN LEAVES
ash yellow, brown
beech yellow to orange
dogwood scarlet to purple
hickory gilded bronze
Oak red, brown or red
poplar golden yellow
red maple bright scarlet

VDOF even offers recommended tours for fall foliage, designed by a Virginia forester. Click here for the full list of suggested spots for the best “leaf look”.

Now for a little science: there are three factors that cause leaves to change color:

  1. Pigments of the leaves. Chlorophyll gives the leaves their green color. Carotenoids produce yellow, orange and brown colors. Anthocyanins produce red, purple and crimson.
  2. Longer nights. As the nights get longer, chlorophyll production slows down and eventually stops.
  3. Weather. And because the weather is never the same every year, no two autumns are the same.

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