The Missouri Department of Conservation has begun its weekly online fall color updates.
The updates come from foresters across the state and include species of trees turning and recommendations for where to see them.
The color change starts earliest in northern Missouri and moves southward across the state, according to MDC. The peak of fall color in Missouri is usually around mid-October. This is when maples, ashes, oaks and hickories are at the height of their fall display. Normally the colors are fading and the leaves start to drop from the trees by late October.
MDC Resource Forester Cory Gregg explained leaves turn colors when two things happen.
"First, sugars produced by photosynthesis are trapped inside leaves by chilly — but not freezing — autumn nights," he said in a news release. "Those sugars are the building blocks for red, yellow, orange, and purple pigments. Cool nights simultaneously cause the breakdown of green pigments, allowing these other colors to show through."
A wide variety of trees around the state means Missourians have a fall-color season that can last four to six weeks. Sassafras, sumac and Virginia creeper are some of the earliest foliage to change, beginning in mid-September. By late September, black gum, bittersweet and dogwoods are turning.
To get fall color updates from MDC online, go to mdc.mo.gov/fallcolor.