As residents of Arkansas, we have the opportunity to enjoy the beautiful colors of fall. We are blessed with a vast array of foliage in the natural state. We have varied sections of the state with their own colors of fall. There is the Ozarks, River Valley, Ouachita and of course the delta regions. The mixture of all the beautiful colors; yellows, browns, reds, purples, and oranges, are just a breath taking sight in this wonderful place we call home. There are those who say that the fall foliage in Arkansas rivals that of the New England states. Hundreds of thousands of visitors come to our state each year to enjoy the beautiful colors that splash through the hills and mountains of Arkansas.
During the fall, Arkansas is a very popular place for visitors. The changing of the colors of the leaves is something many residents look forward to each year. But there is a huge uncontrollable factor in the color changes each year. That factor is called the weather. If we experience hot, dry summers, the foliage season won’t be as colorful or last near as long. In hot, dry summers trees start to shut down early to survive because of drought conditions. This affects the leaves changing in the fall. Early frost can also put an end to the foliage season. A normal summer with a mild fall season means a good foliage process for the enjoyment of all.
The product that leaves produce to feed the tree is called, “chlorophyll”. This is what gives leaves their green color in spring and summer. This really remarkable chemical combines sunlight, water and carbon dioxide to make sugar and starch for trees to feed. The same type of energy our bodies need to function. But in the starting days of fall this process is broken down because of the lack of daily sunlight and temperature drops, which make the chlorophyll, disappear. This starts the process of preparing for winter. As a result, we see the beautiful changing of colors in the fall. As this process begins other changes in the trees also begin. At the point where the leaf’s stem is attached to the tree, special cells grown by the tree are actually pushed between the stem and the tree, eventually separating the leaf from the tree.
The fall foliage only lasts a short time so enjoy it while you can. Northwest Arkansas begins the color change sometime in late September to early October. The peak time for viewing in this area will usually be in late October. Because of the areas elevations, the River Valley and Ouachitas will start their color change around the first of October, with the peak viewing time being around early November. As for the Delta Region, the color changes occur from early to mid-November.