ANNAPOLIS, Md. – The maples and black gums continue to lead the fall transition, however most of Maryland is still seeing little change. Three factors influence autumn leaf color: leaf pigments, weather, and most importantly, length of night. The timing of color changes is primarily regulated by the calendar, and as the days grow shorter and the nights grow longer, biochemical processes in the leaves begin to reveal autumn’s palette of colors across Maryland’s landscape.
“Autumn leaves don’t fall, they fly. They take their time and wander on this their only chance to soar.”
We have a few photos from readers featured in this week’s report and we welcome all of Maryland’s outdoor enthusiasts to send in photos capturing the beauty of the fall season. Please use the submission form to send your entries directly to us. Your photo might be selected to appear in a future edition of the Fall Foliage Report!
Sign up to receive this report to your email inbox every week this fall.
MARYLAND 5 MILLION TREES INITIATIVE
Established by the Tree Solutions Now Act in 2021
One of the primary goals of the Maryland Forest Service is to promote the establishment of new forests to support healthy populations of native plants and wildlife. The Maryland 5 Million Tree Initiative furthers this goal by encouraging Marylanders to join our mission of planting 5 million trees by 2031! Learn more about this historic initiative and see how YOU can help us reach our goal of planting 5 million trees to benefit generations of Marylanders for years to come.
The big show won’t arrive for a few more weeks in Washington County, but the early signs are there. The maples are starting to turn at the tips of their branches in the forest canopy, while the black gums are revealing shades of crimson in the forest understory. Many of the woodlots with black walnut and boxelder in the Hagerstown Valley are starting to yellow. The cool nights and shorter days should get things moving in the next week or two.
– Forest Manager Aaron Cook, Maryland Forest Service, Clear Spring, Washington County
Fall is here at Deep Creek Lake State Park! With temperatures in the low 50s and days getting colder, fall color changes are expected to accelerate. The park is mostly green overall but hickories in the higher elevations are beginning to turn beautiful shades of gold, dropping their leaves to greet the flaxen hues of the understory plants like ferns. The red maples are rounding out the fall palette, dotting the landscape with red and orange.
– Cricket Smith, State Park Ranger, Deep Creek Lake State Park
We are starting to see a little more color in the far western region of Maryland, including some sugar maples in downtown Oakland.
-Melissa Nash Forester, Garrett Project Manager
Still mainly green in Patapsco, with the trees still providing large areas of shade along the River Road area in Sykesville.
– Park Ranger Alyssa Myers, Patapsco Valley State Park
We are just now starting to see a slight change in color on our hardwood trees. Still mostly green, but fall is starting to peek through!
– Ranger J. Williams, Assistant Park Manager, Point Lookout State Park Complex
While our western neighbors begin to greet the fall season, here in the eastern part of the state our landscape is slow to part with summer blooms. The leaves are still green in Tubman Country, and the pollinator plants on the living roof are thriving. Our legacy garden is filled with a variety of colorful native flowering plants that bloom at different times during the growing season, including the fall!
-Dana Paterra, Park Manager, Harriet Tubman Underground Railroad State Park
Photo Submissions for the Week
We’d like to thank all of the folks that continue to send in photos of fall scenes from across the state. Through your reports and photos we receive first-hand accounts of our fall transition in Maryland. Please send us your fall foliage photos, including the names of any tree species you spot, using our easy online form!
Fall Recreation Spotlight
October 1: Moonlit Bay Hike at Sandy Point State Park
Join us for this 2-mile hike on International Observe the Moon Night, and enjoy the views of the Chesapeake Bay by moonlight. Reservations are required; please call 443-875-8613 for information and to make reservations.
Watch the sky
We’re in a bit of a lull for night sky activity, with a dark sky following last week’s new moon. The next event will be October 5 – the Camelopardalids meteor shower. Camelopardalids is a large constellation located between Ursa Major and Cassiopeia. This is not a blockbuster show however and the average frequency is 5 meteors per hour. The next full moon occurs on October 9.
Join the Westminster Astronomical Society October 1 at Cunningham Falls State Park to check out sunspots! This event is free with park entrance fees of $3 per Maryland vehicle, $5 per out-of-state vehicle. Rain cancels the program; please call ahead to confirm: 301-271-6964.