ENGLEWOOD, Ohio (WDTN) – Black walnut and buckeye leaves are falling across the Miami Valley. While the majority of the foliage is still very green.

The Regional Manager of Conservation for Five Rivers MetroParks, Grace Dietsch, said many of the trees are still taking advantage of the warm temperatures and the rain we saw last week.

“Those trees are still photosynthesizing which is how they make food. All tree leaves have pigment in them so right now you’re seeing chlorophyll which is the green pigment,” Dietsch said.

Dayton is losing more than two minutes of daylight each day through the fall. Dietsch said the leave color will change as we continue to lose daylight.

“Chlorophyll is no longer needed so that pigment goes away which leaves behind the yellows and the reds and the purples that we will see in the fall,” Dietsch said.

Dry sunny days and cool nights will also bring out the other colors in the leaves.

“The trees also need those cooler temperatures to all signal to the tree, it’s starting to be wintertime. It’s time to shed our leaves so that it doesn’t get any kind of frost damage or anything,” Dietsch said.

Temperatures fall into the 50s tonight, but highs will still be near 80 on Wednesday and Thursday. A cold front will come through Friday bringing cooler and drier conditions to the Miami Valley. The weekend looks like it will be the perfect weather to signal to the trees it’s time to let the other colors shine.

Dietsch said strong wind gusts will blow the leaves down prematurely, and an early frost will put an end to the fall colors.

Wind gusts may be around 30 mph on Friday and Saturday, but with several leaves still green they should be able to hold out dry and cool weather heading into next week.

Lows will be in the 40s, but it shouldn’t be quite cold enough for a frost.

“Shy of any cold snaps or anything like that we should still be seeing some good fall color for the next week and a half to two weeks,” Dietsch said.

She suggests Sugarcreek MetroPark for anyone in southeast Montgomery County and Green County.

“There’s that osage orange tunnel which is a great place to take family pictures,” Diesch said.

Medlar Conservation Area is a great option for anyone near Miamisburg. Diesch said it’s a paved bike path and there are lots of great hills in the area.

“The Twin Valley has the highest level of diversity in the county,” Diesch said.

Germantown MetroPark and Twin Creek MetroPark are in this area. Diesch also said there’s a lot of great driving paths that way.

“You can see lots of great fall color from the car or you can get out on the silver trail and witness all of the beautiful fall foliage there,” Diesch said.

A couple of other great options are Taylorsville, Englewood MetroPark. Diesch said Taylorsville does provide a hike with lots of hills.

“Healthy trees make for pretty fall leaves and we work really hard at Five Rivers MetroParks to maintain healthy vigorous forests,” Dietsch said.

She said leaving the leaves in your lawn will help keep your trees healthy for many years to come.

“Leaving your leaves in the lawn and in the natural areas is really important for insects which then feed the birds which then just plays a bigger part in the greater food web,” Dietsch said. ” It can also create healthier lawns in the process.

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