Fall Foliage Forecast by PennLive

By Marcus Schneck mschneck@pennlive.com
Unseasonably hot, dry weather throughout much of September may have doomed hopes for a particularly vibrant fall-foliage period this fall in much of Pennsylvania.

“Several factors lead me to believe that what looked to be an excellent fall foliage year has been mitigated by this latest hot, dry weather pattern, coupled with outbreaks of maple anthracnose in a fair number of areas,” noted Ryan Reed, the environmental education specialist in the Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources who compiles the weekly fall foliage report for the state.

“Despite this, there will be good fall foliage viewing throughout the state in forthcoming weeks. One may have to simply travel further between areas of brilliant color.”

For now, he said, fall foliage season continues in its preliminary stages statewide. Some northern-tier forest districts are showing more than 50 percent color in stands of northern hardwoods like maple, cherry and birch.

Central and southern forests are showing strong indicators of future color, with bittersweet, Virginia creeper, dogwood, walnut, hickory, birch and a few maples sprinkling color over the landscape.

The recent warm spell seems to have slowed the color transition, and even forced early leaf-drop in some areas.

Southwestern Counties (Allegheny, Washington, Greene, Westmoreland, Fayette and Somerset counties): In Forbes State Forest, peak color is expected during the first and second weeks (Negro Mountain and Laurel Ridge) in October.

The Laurel Highlands are separated by three separate ridges that vary in elevation, often leading to a succession of peak foliage. The Mt. Davis Division encompasses the highest point in Pennsylvania and peaks before any other region of the Laurel Highlands. The Laurel Ridge, extending from Ohiopyle to Seward, is the next area to peak, followed by the western-most areas of the Laurel Highlands, Chestnut Ridge, and Pittsburgh area.

Southern Region (Area south and east of a line through southern Monroe, Dauphin, Bedford and southeastern Somerset Counties): In Buchanon State Forest, several vine species (poison ivy, Virginia creeper, bittersweet) are adding early red and yellow colors to the forest edges. Hickories and birches on drier sites have also turned yellow. Route 30 offers a pleasant view of the Buchanon State Forest, and Tower Road and Bark Road vistas reveal beautiful scenery in the valley.


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