Ready for fall colors? Be patient

WASHINGTON — Autumn is the favorite time of year for many, bursting with colorful foliage. However, it looks like leaves in the D.C. region will need just a little more time.

WTOP Garden Editor Mike McGrath says conditions were right for a nice leaf-changing season — the last six weeks of summer were dry. But then the rains moved in, especially last week.

“Those heavy rains really rehydrated the trees, and I think … are going to keep them growing with chlorophyll a little bit longer,” McGrath says, adding that could delay the peak of the season by several weeks.

Right now, McGrath says, areas in upper New England are getting a nice foliage show.

“I’m going to go out on a limb and predict that we’re going to be seeing the best color right around Halloween,” McGrath says.

Cross your fingers for moderate temperatures and no heavy storms between now and the end of the month.

The Virginia Department of Forestry offers a weekly foliage report to help you plan an excursion. You can also dial up the Forest Service Fall Color Hotline at 800-354-4595, or 800-434-LEAF for a Virginia-specific report.

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