Austin fall colors may extend longer into December

The fall colors in Austin slowly started to appear a few weeks ago. Now as November comes to a close, large sections of tree canopies seem to have changed overnight.

This late season pop was not anticipated because of the summer drought.

"Yeah. You know, it's been kind of surprising and nice to see these colors this week just starting to come on," said Jonathan Motsinger, with the Texas A&M Forest Service.

The drought, according to Motsinger, dried out a lot of trees. But an early fall that was warmer, and recent rains, apparently only postponed what Mother Nature would do.

"So some of the ones that we're seeing right now, we've got some red buds, some Shumard oak with that bright red. Pecans, some of them are starting to turn yellow, and then you get kind of a bronze with bald cypress. And it kind of depends on the species which one is going to hold onto their leaves a little bit longer," said Motsinger.

On the Town Lake Hike and Bike Trail the change in scenery is a welcomed sight.

"Beautiful. Today is amazing and yes and there are so many different varieties," said Jan Duska who was walking with her two dogs.

A successful search for fall colors year apparently requires one key thing. A location that's close to water. 

SKYFOX drone provides a big view of that. The tree line, along Lady Bird Lake, looks like a patchwork quilt. An additional splash of color to the Austin skyline. But getting away from the waterline the trees are more brown and green.

"It makes sense that trees that are closer to water would be the ones that made it through the drought the best or the healthiest, and were able to retain their leaves during the during those summer months, whenever it was hot," said Motsinger.

Some hot spots to see Austin fall colors include:

  • Mayfield Park and Preserve
  • Mt. Bonnell
  • Colorado River Preserve
  • Shoal Creek Greenbelt
  • Pease Park

There's a chance a lot of trees will continue the colorful transformation. They just may compete with early December Christmas lights.

"I think maybe we can push for a couple of weeks of good color. Some stuff is still just turned in. Some of it's really hitting its peak right now with the cold that we're getting today after that warm day yesterday and starting to get some cooler weather again that might push them a little bit further forward and hopefully get the rest of these trees really moving," said Motsinger.

There is a downside to all this fall color. Motsinger warned the cold spell signals the beginning of something else, cedar fever.

City of Austin Park Rangers have posted pictures of fall colors on their Facebook site.