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Fall foliage: When to expect the most vibrant colors across Wisconsin

Southeastern Wisconsin to experience peak colors late October
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Posted at 12:56 PM, Sep 15, 2021

Fall in Wisconsin is unbeatable, with the vibrant fall foliage lining the streets of every city, suburb and county road in the state.

Track the changing of leaves in Travel Wisconsin's fall color map. Milwaukee's color report is currently at 0% with its estimated peak week to be the third week of October. Meanwhile, Antigo, Wis. is already at 25%.

Fall foliage is affected by the temperature; the warmer the temperature in the evening, the later in the year trees will turn colors. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration determines when trees will change color based on historical leaf peak, temperatures, precipitation, leaf volume, health and day length. The Department of Natural Resources says counties in northwest and southern Wisconsin are experiencing drought conditions that may impact fall color this year.

"To have the most brilliant and vibrant fall color display, a series of fall days filled with bright sunshine and cool, but frost-free, evenings are ideal," said Colleen Matula, DNR forest ecologist/silviculturist. “Cooler nighttime temperatures tend to amplify the brightness of reds and purple in leaves, while warmer nights will mute this color change.”

According to the Wisconsin DNR, the state has more than six million acres of public lands, 49 state parks, 15 state forests and 40 state biking trails, offering spots for viewing the vivid colors all across Wisconsin.

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