2020 Update:The link below will show you exactly when and where the fall foliage will peak this year.
People who live in Missouri believe fall is the best season of the year. Why? The humidity is finally bearable and so is the heat! The Show Me State is one of the best places in the nation to view the changing colors of fall. Reports are indicating that the display of autumnal colors will last a little longer this year and start a little later than usual. It looks like the best times this season will be in mid-to-late October. If you’re looking for guidance before booking a trip, you may want to visit SmokeyMountains.com and check out their mapping predictions. (Sample of how it works is in the above video).
Missouri Conservation Department
Forecasts Fall Colors
Fall Forecast for the St Louis Region
According to the Missouri Department of Conservation:”Predicting the peak of fall color can be difficult. Missouri is blessed with a great variety of trees, shrubs, and vines. Their leaves turn at different times, so Missourians enjoy a fall color season that may last four to six weeks. Sassafras, sumac, and Virginia creeper are some of the earliest to change, beginning in mid-September. By late September, black gum, bittersweet, and dogwood are turning.
The peak of fall color in Missouri is usually around mid-October. This is when maples, ashes, oaks, and hickories are at the height of their fall display. Normally by late October, the colors are fading and the leaves beginning to drop from the trees.
The progression of color change starts earliest in north Missouri and moves southward across the state. Generally, the color change is predictable, but it can vary from year to year. Much depends on the weather.”
Beginning to Turn
The color change has slowed significantly because of the warmer-than-normal weather. Vibrant fall color depends on a number of factors, but having warm days with cool nights is rather important as we progress into the season. Some of the early-changing species, such as sumacs, dogwoods, ashes and walnut, have defoliated or turned brown with the drought conditions across the region. In areas that received scattered rain, some of these same species are still green and a few individuals have decent yellow color. In urban and suburban landscapes, sweet gum and red and sugar maples are beginning to turn. Typically, these are more mid-season species, so it’s likely that peak will be later than usual, but we’ll need some rain separated by some bright, sunny days and cool nights to get the best possible display. As mentioned before, our drought-tolerant native wildflowers continue to provide a good display of color.
Fall Color Hot Spots in St. Louis Region
11-07-2020 – Update
In many of the outlying areas of the St. Louis Region, fall color has ended. In the warmer suburbs and downtown area of St. Louis, it continues to linger, although many oaks have gone from green to brown. Color can still be found in some oaks, maples, sweet gum, hickories, witch-hazel, and even a few dogwoods and sycamore. Whether you can find color will depend on how much moisture was available to the trees and whether they suffered from any spring fungal diseases.
This is a great time of year to look for invasive species in your yard or on your property, since many of them will still have green leaves. Shrubs like bush honeysuckle or burning bush (don’t confuse it with our native eastern wahoo!), Callery (Bradford) pear, wintercreeper, English (Boston or Baltic) ivy, autumn olive, and multiflora rose may have started to change color or they may be evergreen, but they really tend to stand out this time year. These plants are very damaging to Missouri’s natural areas, so please do your best to control them on your property and keep our forests, glades, prairies, and other areas beautiful and diverse with native species of plants, insects, and wildlife! You can find information on controlling these plants by searching the MDC website or by contacting your local MDC office for more information.
Fall Color Hot Spots
Consider visiting St. Louis County Parks such as Cliff Cave and Laumeier Sculpture Parks, or St. Louis City Parks such as Tower Grove Park. A trip to the nearby Missouri Botanical Garden would also be enjoyable – don’t expect the color to last much longer!
Things to Do in St. Louis
If you will be visiting the St. Louis area there is plenty to do and see here. There are kid-friendly attractions, adult activities, family amusements, and more. Some of the fun things you can experience while in St. Louis are only a click away: Things to Do in St Louis If you’re interested in real estate get our Free Fall Home Buying Guide