Fall Color Report

Post date: 10/01/2018
I am back from my two-day foray to the Smokies and my trip on the Blue Ridge Parkway. To get right to the point of my fall color postings I can state that everywhere and I mean everywhere, along the Parkway, the dominant color was GREEN. Usually by this time of the year, the upper elevations above 5,000' have significant color, and these high elevations often show their peak color at this time. However, this year, color development is way behind normal. Only some birches and mountain maples have started to change in a significant manner, and then only in isolated patches here and there.I'll...
Post date: 09/24/2018
After a week off due to Hurricane Florence I am back on this last day of summer with a new report on fall leaf colors. How quickly the summer came and went! Fall begins at exactly 9:40 pm on Saturday evening, as I write this. And it is amazing how the colors have come out just in the last two days, as if Mother Nature has flipped the color switch on this week, just in time for fall. Two days ago, you would have been hard pressed to find much color in the woods. But today, it is apparent all throughout the High Country. It is absolutely astounding just how quickly the trees can produce color!...
Post date: 09/10/2018
This week has been almost a near repeat of last week, with slightly above average temperatures and sporadic precipitation. The NOAA long-range forecast has a 33% chance of slightly above normal temperatures through November. Remember, for the best fall colors September should be cool and sunny. Now that we are halfway through September, and it’s still warm, I’m going to make my first comment on potential fall leaf color and say that it may not be the highest quality, but premised on the fact that it remains warm the rest of this month.Last year, we had oscillations between cool and warm...
Post date: 09/04/2018
This week has been quite warm, with above average temperatures. We’ve also had sporadic rain storms, including yesterday and today. My wife and I got rained out of our hike to Beacon Heights on Saturday, but we managed to squeeze in the Flat Rock Trail before the heavens gave way. Today we had rain from 9 am until the early evening, including a whopper thunderstorm. This year has had interesting weather – we get thunderstorms, but with very little wind; just drenching rains. Last year, I had to water plants on my front patio about every other day. This year, since May, I’ve only watered...
Post date: 08/28/2018
 The days are getting shorter and the mornings cooler. This past week, after a cold front moved in from the upper Midwest, our morning temperatures dropped to the low 50s and in some places as low as 45F! Perfect temperatures for getting the trees to start changing color.In Boone, some of the planted red maples (Acer rubrum) and burning bushes (Euonymous alata) are starting to develop their characteristic red coloration. Urban street trees generally turn earlier than trees in the forests outside town. This is most likely due to genetic selection for street trees that provide vivid fall...
Post date: 08/20/2018
We’re still officially in summer, and in some areas, this time of the year is often referred to as the dog days of summer. However, “officially”, the dog days run from July 3rd to August 11th and while it is hot out, we are past that end date. While we tend to associate late summer days with dogs purportedly going crazy from the heat, in fact, the term ‘dog days’ arises because these times coincide with the rising of the dog star, Sirius. In ancient times, this was associated with wars and disasters, but the modern meaning, as we know it, didn’t begin to come around until about 500 years ago...
Post date: 08/09/2018
Welcome back to another fall leaf color season! It’s been somewhat of a rough going these past two years, but hopefully things will turn around this year. So far, the weather is cooperating. We haven’t had extremely high temperatures, nor any serious droughts in the mountains. The latest climate report for NC is posted below from the NC Climate Office: (http://climate.ncsu.edu/climateblog?id=262&h=a71a1169).  I haven’t seen any signs of major diseases on trees, although this year the tent caterpillars are having quite a show, mainly on black cherry trees. You may have noticed their...
Post date: 10/30/2017
  Well folks, it’s been a wild ride this fall color season. Below I summarize my thoughts on the colors this year as well as inform you that this will be my last posting for the season. The colors have mostly moved downslope and out of the High Country and some of these areas now coloring up are a little far for me to get to (considering I have another job that actually pays me!). I’ve enjoyed posting fall color reports, meeting a few of you, and answering your questions as best I could. I hope everyone who came to the High Country had a pleasant experience and will think about...
Post date: 10/18/2017
 I took a drive today down to Chestoa Overlook, about 4 miles south of Linville Falls on the Blue Ridge Parkway. I then worked my way back north to Price Lake and Cone Manor in Blowing Rock. The take home message is this: the best color can be found starting at the Yonahlossee Overlook near Grandfather Mountain and on up north to the Rough Ridge Trail on the Parkway. Even so, it is not yet at peak. There is still a lot of green, which means that next weekend should be even better. And it’s supposed to get cool this week, which should hasten color development. Other areas, such...
Post date: 10/02/2017
 Today I had the pleasure of hiking to the top of Elk Knob State Park with Dave and Jan Crotts, long-time followers of my fall color prognostications. It was the first time we had met in person, and we had a very enjoyable and leisurely hike to the top. Because of the low humidity today, the air was clear and crisp, and we could see for miles and miles.So, what is the state of the leaves? In one word: green! The warm period last week really slowed down color development. However, the past two days the temperatures have been cool, with lows in Boone around 43 F, and highs only in the 60s...