Trees are starting to change color in the Rocky Mountains this week, and next week, New England, the Eastern Seaboard and the Pacific Northwest will begin the annual change. Much of the Midwest will peak mid-October, and areas further south will see trees start to change toward the end of the month. Plan ahead to see the spectacle on a fall hike or drive; with COVID-19 still restricting travel, however, remember to check all local, state and county regulations, says The Points Guy, “and prioritize your health and safety, no matter where in the country you plan to travel.”
As of this week, 2021’s interactive fall foliage map shows the leaves nearing their peak fall colors in cool areas such as northern Minnesota, Wisconsin and Michigan, as well as in the Rocky Mountain states of Montana, Wyoming and Colorado. Depending on your location, most people in the U.S. will several weeks to witness the change progress; simply use the map’s sliders to find your location and get ready for a walk in the woods or a scenic drive — or plan a trip to another region.
Every year at about this time, deciduous trees start to change color and lose their leaves. The rainbow of colors is a spectacle many enjoy will viewing on a crisp fall weekend, as the changes progress southward through October alongside cooler temperatures.
Optimum viewing depends upon your location. Fall colors are already starting to peak in the New England states of Maine, New Hampshire and Vermont, TripSavvy says, as well as the northernmost reaches of Minnesota and Michigan. Other locations are just beginning to see the leaves turn.
While fall colors come with colder weather, the good news is that thanks to an exceptionally wet spring and summer, 2019 may have some of the most vibrant fall foliage ever seen in many locations. Most areas of the country will see a range of yellows, oranges and reds in the next six weeks, according to a fall foliage forecast.
To make the most of fall leaf-peeping, says Yankee magazine’s Jim Salge, check the timing in your area online. Plan on a doing a couple of hours’ drive to chase the peak colors, he notes, and try to sample a few other fall activities such as harvest festivals along the way.
Those stuck at home, of course, may find the leaves changing color and falling to be more of a nuisance. To clean them up effectively, get the right tools, says The Spruce. Attach a bagging system to your mower, use a leaf blower or get an ergonomically designed rake to collect all of nature’s seasonal detritus in one pile or place.
Then — instead of bagging those leaves and setting them out for garbage pickup — a thriftier and more ecofriendly option is to use the organic material to amend the soil in your garden and lawn. Use shredded leaves as mulch or add them to a compost heap to reintegrate their nutrients into new growth, the site says.
Shred leaves for the best results in composting, Compost Guide says, and turn the heap at least every three weeks to ensure that the organic matter gets the chance to break down by the time you plant again. Or simply gather your leaves in a heap and let them decay into a nutritious mulch.
Whether you like to look at the leaves change colors or want the satisfaction of getting them off your lawn and out of sight, October offers plenty of options. Enjoy the season!