Fall Color Report

Post date: 08/24/2020
Here's my report for the week of August 23rd. To sum it up: not much happening yet with the trees, aside from dogwoods turning deep burgundy now (they will hold their leaves well into October), and the occasional urban red or sugar maple starting to turn color and lose leaves.Most of what's happening now is a profusion of late flowering herbaceous plants, like green-headed coneflower, Joe-Pye weed, Ironweed, black-eyed Susans, Chickory, and many others. It's been a good year for flowers in the High Country, probably because we have had moderate temperatures and plenty of rain.  You...
Post date: 08/24/2020
I always say that the weather during September is critical for determining the quality and timing of fall leaf colors here in the mountains of North Carolina.The long-term 30 day forecast from NOAA is equivocal - about an equal chance of being slightly above or slightly below normal. Not a great prediction, but if it turns out close to this, i.e., near normal, then we may return to a normally timed fall leaf color peak, which for the Boone-Blowing Rock area would be mid-October (12-18th).We'll just have to wait and see! 
Post date: 08/17/2020
.A short bonus post. The dogwoods have already started turning colors. In fact, they started about a week or so ago. Don't worry, fall leaf colors are not coming early this year - dogwoods do this slow turn every year.Some of the yellow buckeyes though, are starting to drop their leaves too - they normally are among the first to lose leaves in the fall - it's just built into their genes, but they also get a leaf fungus that causes premature leaf drop.
Post date: 08/17/2020
This report marks the 13th consecutive year of fall leaf color reporting by the Fall Color Guy. I started reporting in 2008 and it is truly remarkable how quickly the years have gone by. I also have been doing this long enough that I can go back and look for patterns in the timing of the fall color peak for each year to see how it has changed over time. I will work up a report on that and post it later this month.I feel under some obligation to provide some guidance and advice for those of you contemplating coming up to the High Country to do your fall leaf looking, given the situation with...
Post date: 11/04/2019
Yesterday was a beautiful day here in the High Country with clear blue skies and moderately cool temperatures. There were many people out on the Parkway catching the last of this season’s fall colors.Fall colors here in the High Country are now past peak. In fact, they are mostly gone. There is still some color, mostly burnt-orange and deep burgundy red, due to the red, white and chestnut oaks, the last species of trees to show off their fall colors. The display of colors ranges from a single tree in a forest of leafless, gray trees to ridges dominated by oaks completely covered in orange and...
Post date: 10/28/2019
 Getting up early to view the fall foliage displays is becoming a habit with me this fall. It’s also something you all should consider, because you can drive the Blue Ridge Parkway and see nary a soul and have the views all to yourself. Today I was fortunate in getting out early because around 11:30 am, clouds moved onto the Parkway and it became fogged in with very limited visibility. This is the result of former tropical storm Olga, which is bringing up lots of moisture and warm temperatures to the High Country. However, before the clouds came, this was the peak weekend for the High...
Post date: 10/16/2019
 Today I gave my fall color talk at the Nature Museum on Grandfather Mt. To avoid the large crowds (and Grandfather personnel thought it could be a record crowd today) I arrived at the Park just after 9:45 am. After checking in, I headed off to hike the Black Rock Trail, which you can access from the lower portion of the Black Rock parking lot on the way up to the Top Shop. It’s a moderately easy 1 mile hike out and 1 mile back. There are some great views from the rocks at the end, but access is not easy (a single cable to pull yourself up on) and I don’t recommend it for small...
Post date: 10/07/2019
 A cool front came through late Friday evening, socking in the mountains in a cloud/fog (fog is just a cloud on the ground). There wasn't much rain with this front, but temperatures did drop about 20 degrees. However, the night time lows didn't get as low as I would have liked them to due to the persistent cloud cover, which traps heat close to the ground. Nonetheless, these lower temperatures are very welcome. I would like to see them drop even further.Colors are starting in isolated locations. The ridges below Stack Rock, on the east flank of Grandfather Mt., are showing some nice...
Post date: 10/01/2019
 I went to Elk Knob State Park this morning to check out the colors there. Because this park rises up to 5,520’ elevation, there can be dramatic differences in the degree of fall color display since elevation exerts such a strong influence on the timing of peak color. I was surprised to see substantial color development beginning this weekend – isolated maples were showing up against a mostly green background, along with birches and beech and tulip poplars. We are definitely in the beginning stages of fall color development. And we’re on time, something I attribute to the cool mornings...
Post date: 09/23/2019
Yesterday, Saturday, Sep 21, I went to Grandfather Mt as part of a social outing for the PIedmont Chapter of the American Chemical Society and also to scout out the fall leaf colors.Colors are starting to appear at the highest elevations. Out of scale of 1-10, I'd say the colors are between 1 and 2 now, but they are definitely visible to the eye.Mt. Ash (Sorbus aucuparia) fruits are on full display - a brilliant red-orange color that is spectacular when viewed against an azure sky. Last year was a bad year this species, with few if any fruits, but they have rebounded this year. They will be...