autumn woods

September 2017


Unpredictable, Loyal Colors of Fall

There are few months with such a distinct air of change as September.  The lazy days of summer are winding down and we start thinking about pumpkins and football.  For foresters and others who spend time in the woods, the beginning of autumn also signals a shift in the trees.  You will often find us looking up, watching the trees and trying to predict the color changes that are upon us. 

We get asked about the upcoming fall foliage quite frequently; from young kids to seasoned leaf peepers.  And although we do our best and say things like “the wet summer should make for a beautiful display!” and “hope for sunny days and cool nights!”, mother nature is faithfully unpredictable.  

What is predicable is that although the intensity changes, you can always find beautiful places in our state and region to watch autumn’s display.  This is because Pennsylvania is uniquely positioned to experience diverse and interesting fall foliage.  With our various forest types and elevations, even within Westmoreland County, mother nature always has something interesting up her sleeve.  If the oaks are having a dim year, head east to see if the sugar maples on parts of the Laurel Ridge and Allegheny Front have a more striking display. 

Even if we can’t forecast exactly how the colors will emerge over the upcoming weeks, we will sure enjoy standing in the woods, looking up at the trees, trying..


Jessica Salter | Service Forester

PA Department of Conservation and Natural Resources

Bureau of Forestry | Forbes State Forest