It has been a beautiful fall season so far in Nebraska. Justin Evertson is the green infrastructure coordinator with the Nebraska Forest Service and says trees are challenged here and are not as reliable as they are for fall color as up north and to the east. However, weather conditions have been perfect for a pretty fall. He says there hasn’t been a lot of rain and days are warm and nights cool – the perfect combinations.
As to when the trees reach their peak color, Evertson says, “I call it a rolling peak in our part of the world. Last week or so was really spectacular for the green ash and the white ash. This week we are entering into the peak of our maples, red maples and sugar maples. In a week or two our peak will be in the oaks, that will be red oak and white oak. They will color up more in the first ten days of November typically so it is kind of a rolling peak. Right now is when you would probably call it at its primary peak.”
Evertson says while the trees get a lot of credit for the fall color, don’t neglect looking at the shrubs and native grasses. He says service berries, native plums and dogwoods are often times more showy than the trees in shades of red, yellow and purple. He says big blue stem and indian grass in shades of yellow and little blue stem in shades of red. He says boneset have a fuzzy white seed head and can be found in road ditches and prairie grass areas.
According to Evertson, some of the best places to see the fall colors are Indian Cave State Park near Nebraska City and through the Loess Hills area of neighboring Iowa.