East Texas Fall Colors

The Piney Woods of East Texas aren't all evergreens. We also have maples, oaks, Bradford pear, hickory, dogwood and other trees known for their fall displays. Before long they'll all be covered in fall foliage. As the weather begins to cool, deciduous trees change seemingly overnight from green to vibrant crimson, gold and orange.

It can be hard to predict viewing times for peak fall color, but we can get you close. Here's what you need to know about 2018 fall colors in East Texas.

What Makes Some Years More Colorful?

Have you ever wondered why some years fall colors are heartbreakingly beautiful and others leaves seem to go straight to brown? Fall color intensity is connected to weather conditions the entire year.

Chlorophyll, the substance plants use to make their own food through photosynthesis makes leaves green. As fall days have shorter and shorter periods of daylight and the temperatures start to drop, the trees make less chlorophyll.

The orange pigments you see in fall are always there, they just don't show because they're overpowered by chlorophyll. You'll almost always see orange during fall. However, red pigments are triggered by weather change as chlorophyll production wanes.

When fall has mild days and the temperature gradually drops at night, you get brilliant red leaves. When we have an early frost those reds never develop.

A dry year can also suppress fall brilliance. If spring came late or summer included an extended drought, the trees suffered.

What Will This's Fall Colors Year Be Like?

It's too early to tell. The 2018 monthly rainfall was well above average in January, February in March, but then it dropped off. April through August rainfall totals from Tyler Pounds Field were all well below what we normally get. Last year fall colors were stunning and we experienced similar conditions with the exception of an unusually wet August.

The summer was dry, but there might still have been enough rainfall for a spectacular display. Now the colors we see depend on the weather as the seasons change. If the temperature drops gradually, expect a beautiful fall.

When Will Leaves Change?

Expect to see hints of color mid-October with deepening hues as the month progresses. Experts predict East Texas fall colors will peak between November 12 and November 19. If you're planning a trip, check out this interactive fall foliage map.