KANSAS CITY, Mo. — With long-lasting summer heat, fall colors have been slow to make their way across Missouri. However, as Halloween approaches, a real chill has been in the air. This is finally causing the trees to turn.
Here’s a look by region in Missouri at what colors are showing up, what to look for, and where to find them.
Kansas City metro – In progress, but spotty
Sunny days and cool nights equal a perfect recipe for fall colors. Watch for vibrant reds, purples and reds in maples and ash trees. Locusts have the yellows.
However, you may notice some leaves have just turned brown or not turned at all. Fungal diseases have caused problems for some trees, and weather has also been a factor.
If you want some great ideas for exploring, try any park along the Missouri River Basin. For ways to explore fall in Kansas City specifically, check out VisitKC’s ideas.
Missouri central – Great colors in progress
A lot has changed over the past week thanks to the turning weather. Dogwoods are showing dark reds, maples are getting their flame on, and some of our yellow friends (cottonwoods, hackberries, and sycamores) are making their way from green. Look for the yellowing heart-shaped leaves of catalpa in rural yards and along highways. Red maples are going from dull to bright red, and roadsides still show bright red poison ivy and other vine plants.
Drive along Highway 94 heading east out of Jefferson City or hike Big Buffalo Creek Conservation Area in Morgan County for a great view of some wonderful colors.
St. Louis metro – Turning and in progress
Depending where you are, you may see some great color or just mostly a lot of green. Looking forward, some cool temperature in the forecast should really speed things along. Hopefully, a freeze won’t end that too soon.
Logan Conservation Area or out west to Daniel Boone Conservation Area are both great places to see the changing leaves.
Southern Missouri – Big differences east to west
Southern Missouri has seen vastly different weather depending on where you’re located. The southeast has maintained fairly warm temperatures, but they have fallen over the course of the past few weeks. That means some color has begun, including scarlet-colored black gum trees and yellow hackberry and black cherry trees. Some wildflowers still remain.
In the southwest, cold nights, including 32-degree-er, have contributed to some fantastic color ranging across the spectrum. Some great places to see the changing leaves include Huckleberry Ridge and Mule Shoe Conservation Areas.
Northern Missouri – In progress, but spotty
In the northwest, color is happening, but slowly. Some cool nights have contributed to changes, like brighter sumac, poison ivy, and Virginia creeper as well as lots of pale yellows, but they have been fewer than in other regions of Missouri. We could still see quite a drawn-out process.
In the northeast, a hard freeze or two has sped up the color change process, shutting the door to a slow progression of pigment changes. Some good color will maintain as long as the sun stays out, but weaker leaves, like on soft maples, ashs, elms, and walnut are quickly fading from their beautiful reds and yellows.
All the information in this story comes from the Missouri Department of Conservation. There is no good public information for Kansas colors.
Send us your pictures of the changing trees with your name and location of where you took your photo!