Fall Color Report

Fall Color for the Week of October 31, 2011

Oct 31, 2011
Well, nothing lasts forever, and that includes fall leaf colors. If they did, we’d get so used to them that they would cease to be a source of wonderment and beauty. So, take heart that at least in the High Country, we have had a great fall color season, and we are already looking forward to next spring when the leaves come out, hoping that the fall of 2012 is even better than this year! That all being said don’t get the idea that there are no colors to be seen! Our fearless fall...

Fall Color for the Week of October 16, 2011

Oct 17, 2011
Some of you may have seen my facebook post a few days ago mentioning the 90 mph wind gusts on top of Grandfather Mt. Well, it was pretty windy all over the High Country this past week, and that did knock down a lot of leaves. Here in the Boone/Grandfather area, most of the leaves on exposed slopes have now come down, with only the isolated protected valleys, like Valle Crucis, still showing good color. The oaks, though, are turning their deep rust reds, which are providing some accent...

Fall Color for the Week of October 9, 2011

Oct 10, 2011
Foliage color peaked this past weekend for the Grandfather to Boone/Blowing Rock area of the North Carolina Mountains for areas above 3,000’ in elevation. Above 4,500’, colors have actually passed their peak. However, don’t despair if you haven’t yet made it to the mountains. There is still plenty of color throughout the mountains which should persist through next weekend. In fact, some areas haven’t yet peaked, and this coming weekend should be their time to...

Fall Color for the Week of October 2, 2011

Oct 4, 2011
This has been an interesting week in the mountains. Beginning on Friday, the temperatures dropped, and the winds picked up. Jesse Pope, chief naturalist up on Grandfather Mountain, reports that on Saturday winds reached 60 mph with gusts up to 74 mph. Luckily, for most trees, they were still holding on to their leaves quite tightly, so even though some were blown off, most are still there, and if we don’t get more wind storms like that one, they should turn color quite nicely in the...

Fall Color for the Week of September 25, 2011

Sep 26, 2011
This marks the first official week of fall, and between our last report and this one, the trees have responded dramatically, with very noticeable color changes occurring here in the mountains. I took a drive this weekend down to Linville Falls and Grandfather Mountain State Park, and there is a significant increase in color on the hills, although I must emphasize that the forests are still about 80% green, so the peak is yet to come. On Grandfather Mountain, color is very pronounced on the...

Fall Color for the Week of September 19, 2011

Sep 21, 2011
With this report, your mountain fall foliage color reporters begin their tour of duty for Fall 2011. We have a suite of people prepared to bring you detailed reports of fall color changes from the northern part of the chain in Ashe County, down past Boone and Grandfather Mountain, past Mt. Mitchell to Asheville and Waynesville, then on down to Cullowhee and Franklin, and even including the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Each week we will summarize the state of fall foliage color here in...

Fall Color for the Week of September 12, 2011

Sep 15, 2011
It's still fairly early for fall color here in the High Country, but starting soon leaves will begin to change. Already fall colors are underway in the northeast, in Maine and Minnesota, and working their way south. Our fall color times correspond closely with those in New York State, and so will swing into gear at the end of this month, and reach their peak in mid-October. This week's essay is on this past summer's weather and whether that will affect fall color this season. I hope you...

Fall Color for the Week of August 28, 2011

Aug 29, 2011
This week begins the first of many weekly postings on the status of fall foliage colors for fall 2011 in the High Country. Of course, most trees are still green right now, but as I reported in my blog last week, sugar maples up and down the east coast are changing early this year for some unknown reason. It could be that our unusually warm summer had something to do with that, but no one knows for sure. Next week, I'll report on some official weather statistics for this summer in the High...

Fall Color Report: Week of November 1, 2010

Nov 1, 2010
Well folks, we are nearing the end of this year's fall color leaf season in the mountains. Here in the High Country of Boone, Blowing Rock and Jefferson, most of the leaves have fallen off. Some red maples are still turning brilliant red, but they are mostly restricted to urban trees. The oaks peaked last week, and went from burgundy-red to their more typical brown. The only tree yet to peak, and which is consistently the last tree to turn each year, is the ubiquitous street tree, the Bradford...

Fall Color Report: Week of October 25, 2010

Oct 25, 2010
As we move into the last week of October, I am impressed that there is still some fall leaf color to be seen in the Boone area. Even though the peak colors came and went with unprecedented rapidity, other colors have gradually built up and are persisting, giving the landscape a more orange-yellow perspective. Although the upper ridges above 3,500' are now mostly defoliated, there are still splashes of color in protected coves, and on the lower slopes. There are still the occasional patches of...

Fall Color Report: Week of October 18, 2010

Oct 18, 2010
Fall colors have peaked in the Boone area, although they are still quite pretty and worth the drive up for at least another week. On the higher ridges and exposed hillsides, the recent rain and high winds brought down many of the leaves, so the best colors are in protected areas, and at slightly lower elevations. The major change from last weekend to this one has been the continued coloration by the maples and the beginning of coloration by the red, scarlet, pin and black oaks (Quercus rubra,...

Fall Color Report: Week of October 11, 2010

Oct 11, 2010
For the last two weeks, we've been lamenting how slow leaf colors were changing. Well, forget that! Over the past five days, colors have, how shall I say, exploded, popped, erupted, or whatever word you want use! Between Boone and Linville, all along the Blue Ridge Parkway, the trees are nearing their peak color. This week up to the coming weekend should be the peak display for the northern section of the mountains. The most vibrant displays are coming from sourwood (Oxydendrum arboreum) which...

Fall Color Report: Week of October 3, 2010

Oct 3, 2010
Have you ever felt sometimes that time has stood still? That's what seems to have happened this past week with respect to fall color change in the mountains. Your fall color prognosticators are all in agreement that leaf color is in about the same stage this week as last week. This is probably attributable to that warm period we had (which tends to delay color development) and to the rains. Remember, the best color development occurs when we have sunny days and cool nights, and the upcoming...

Fall Color Report: Week of September 27, 2010

Sep 27, 2010
The wave is coming! No, not the one you see in stadiums, or at the beach. Rather, I'm referring to the wave of fall leaf color. It's currently moving south into our area from the Blacksburg, VA region. I estimate we should see good color at the highest elevations (above 4,000') this coming weekend and then at slightly lower elevations (3,000') the weekend after that. For now, most of our forests are still predominantly green, but patches of color are peaking through now, and will continue to...

Fall Color Report: Week of September 19, 2010

Sep 19, 2010
Summer officially ends this Tuesday, and your fall color prognosticators are geared up again to begin reporting on this year's fall display in the North Carolina Mountains. We have formed an informal Fall Color Prognostication Society (FCPS) in order to better cover the mountains in North Carolina, from the Virginia border in the north, to Murphy and Joyce Kilmer in the far southern regions of our state. Our membership includes Dr. Jim Costa, Director of the Highlands Biological Station in...


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