This is the Explore Minnesota fall color report. Information in this report has been provided courtesy of the Department of Natural Resources State Parks and Forests, and is from the Minnesota Office of Tourism.
In general, all areas of the state now have beautiful shades of fall color in their prairie grasses and wildflowers. Pockets of fall color can be found in trees throughout Minnesota that are already displaying orange, red and yellow leaves. The fall color season in Minnesota should progress slightly slower than usual, according to area park and forestry officials.
On average, peak fall color occurs in the northern one-third of the state the middle of September to early October. The middle section of the state, including the Twin Cities, is most colorful late September to early October. And southern Minnesota trees reach the height of their fall color early to mid October. One exception is the North Shore Drive where trees along Lake Superior turn color a week later than inland trees due to the warming effect of the lake.
STATE PARK-Two Harbors
The mountain ash berries are very colorful this year and now a bright orange and red -- great for pictures. The wildflowers throughout the park are in full bloom and very stunning, including daisies, pearly everlasting, turtlehead, asters, bird's-foot trefoil, brown-eyed Susan, sunflowers, goldenrod, orange hawkweed, fireweed, and Joe-Pye weed. Some fall migration is underway with good sightings of nighthawks, raptors and peregrine falcons.
The North Shore of Lake Superior has two fall color seasons. The reds and oranges of the maples come to life within five days before or after Sept. 20. The yellows of the aspen and birch are usually most brilliant within five days of Oct. 1. Dark evergreens provide a striking contrast to the yellow tones close to Lake Superior, and red and orange tones along the ridgeline and inland from the lake.
Roughly 30 percent of the larger maples are starting to turn. Approximately 80 percent of the black ash have changed color. The small aspen are mostly yellow, with 10 percent of the larger trees turning color. Sumac is becoming orange and red. Half of the underbrush has changed to yellow. Deer and a few small fawns are on the move. Fall color at Savanna should peak in late September or early October.
Approximately 20 percent of the foliage has changed color. Several maples are turning a beautiful red. A few of the aspen trees are turning yellow. Some of the smaller trees and shrubs are changing to shades of red and orange.
Fall color is progressing slowly, but with the expected cool weather, the color change will accelerate. The maples are starting to turn yellow, orange and red. Goldenrod and asters are in full bloom. The birch and sumac are also beginning to change color. Fall color should be best around the last week of September or the first week of October.
Goldenrods and asters are common in open, sunny areas with some prairie grasses adding a hint of red. Understory plants are changing steadily to yellow. The Virginia creeper appears scarlet red where it is draped in the trees along forest openings. Historically peak fall color occurs during the third week of September, but due to the delayed development of color this year, the peak may not occur until late September into early October.
Color change at Itasca is progressing slowly, but more trees are showing signs of the season. Paper birch trees are beginning to show varying shades of yellow. The huge heart-shaped leaves of the basswood are also turning lemon-yellow. The sugar and red maples are displaying more reds, yellows and oranges as each day passes. Many of the green and black ash trees, found along the wetlands, are now completely yellow. Color in the understory is more abundant. Sumac are turning deep blood-red, the blue-beech leaves are a rich blend of red, orange and yellow, and the hazel are displaying yellow and orange leaves. The cherry leaves are almost wine-purple in color. Peak fall color is projected for the last weekend of September or the first week of October.
Although overall color fall color is at 20 percent, nearly one-half of the ash and basswood trees are now yellow. Sixty percent of the sumacs have changed to red, orange and maroon. Prairie grasses are now at peak. Wildflowers currently in bloom include goldenrods and blue asters. Maplewood has an extensive trail system where you can enjoy beautiful fall color by foot or horseback.
CROW WING STATE
PARK-Southwest of Brainerd
The sumac and Virginia creeper vines are beginning to show some red leaves. The big bluestem and Indian grasses are coloring the landscape a deep bluish-purple and rusty red. The goldenrod is bright yellow and the blazing star and lead plant are purple, however the white and blues of the asters are the dominant wildflowers at this time. Typically peak color occurs the last week in September to the first or second week of October.
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