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How stressed trees could impact peak fall foliage in Indiana in 2023

Fall Foliage 9/20

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — Fall officially begins at 2:50 a.m. Saturday.

According to ExploreFall, the leaves are just showing the first signs of changing color in some states, including Indiana. This early yellowing of trees in the Midwest is a sign of tree stress.

Even a few high-elevation spots in Colorado have already seen moderate color.

Typical time for peak foliage

For basically everyone in the state of Indiana, peak fall foliage usually happens sometime in late October. This is based on the average period from 1991 to 2020 provided by ExploreFall.

In far southwestern Indiana just bordering Kentucky, foliage could peak in early November.

A good chunk of Iowa, Michigan and Wisconsin see peak fall color typically in mid-October.

Weather impact in 2023 on leaves

Weather factors in the months prior to the leaves turning can have a large impact on when the leaves change. Indiana will have to watch for this, especially considering the dry weather the state has experienced since mid-August. In the last 30 days, Indianapolis has only picked up 7% of our normal rainfall.

ExploreFall’s fall 2023 outlook is calling for much of Indiana’s trees to be highly stressed. Areas that experience drought and highly stressed trees usually see leaves fall slightly earlier than normal. If the pattern continues the way it has, central Indiana could be eyeing a peak closer to mid-October.

Drier weather from August could lead to less vibrant colors when the leaves reach their peak. We have also seen much of Indiana added to the drought monitor in the “abnormally dry” category.

During the actual fall, warm and sunny days with cool but not freezing nights are ideal to help out with the fall color. Hopefully, days like those can counteract the drought-like conditions over the last month and a half Indiana has observed.

Be sure to send WISH-TV your best fall foliage pictures this year. Email them to