Fall Color Report

Post date: 09/21/2015
 It has been delightfully cool here in the High Country for the past 10 days or so, especially in the mornings. It has also been very sunny. And as I've said for many years, if you get cool, sunny weather in September, you're headed for good fall leaf color. And we're getting it! So, if this keeps up for the next few weeks, we should be headed for a really, really, good fall leaf color season!Color has burst out this week here (and burst is the appropriate word!). Last Sunday, I said the word to describe the forests then was "green". But now, just one week later, the hillsides are...
Post date: 09/14/2015
 Still green out there! But! This morning it was 48 F at my house, and probably several degrees colder at the higher elevations on the Blue Ridge Parkway. A cool front has moved in and dropped temperatures substantially, which is good for fall color development. But there hasn't been much change in the leaves since last week, although a few plants are showing color prominently now, especially up on the ridges near Grandfather Mountain.Today, I hiked the Rough Ridge trail, which is just north of the Linn Cove Viaduct on the Blue Ridge Parkway. If you haven't done that trail, I highly...
Post date: 09/08/2015
 The word for this week is .... "green". Although this is the Labor Day weekend, the plants are still laboring and by that, I mean still doing photosynthesis and converting carbon dioxide into sugars and starches. However, there are a few plants that have started to turn early, so if you come to the High Country in the next few weeks, you'll be able to see a little color. But for now, the hillsides are still dominated by the color green.The main turning plants are some maples (just a few though), and huckleberries (on the rock outcrops mainly) and some sassafras which are showing orange...
Post date: 08/31/2015
 As the end of August approaches, we're starting to see the very beginnings of fall color, but only sporadically. The forests are still quite green and lush, but the sentinels, those early turning species, are letting us know that bigger things are in store over the next few weeks. Burning bushes are starting to turn their vivid red (Euonymus alata), and dogwoods (Cornus florida) are slowly turning a deep burgundy red. There are a few scattered sugar and red maples that are turning now, but these the exceptions, rather than the rule. In Boone, along Rivers Street, many of the sugar...
Post date: 08/24/2015
 Although it is technically still "summer", there are signs that the trees are getting ready for fall and winter. Here in the High Country (otherwise known as the Paradise of the East), the dogwoods have already started turning their deep red. The photo attached is of three trees growing across the street from my house. They are among the first trees to turn each year. Some red and sugar maples, which are also early turners, have begun to turn orange-red or yellow, although this is quite sporadic in the forests. I've noticed that the same trees always turn color early each year, and so...
Post date: 08/21/2015
 OK, Fall Leaf Color Devotees - The slumbering bear is awakening and getting ready for yet another fall leaf color season in the mountains of western North Carolina.The spring and summer have not been too remarkable this year. While it's been hot off the mountain and getting drier (central NC is now officially in drought status, and even a bit of the mountains too!) it hasn't been so severe yet as to cause excessive stress to the trees. Remember, a little drought is thought to heighten the colors.The one major development this summer has been the outbreak of yellow poplar weevil (...
Post date: 10/27/2014
 Fall foliage color is still there to see in the Boone area, but the quality is quite different now. We have mostly yellow leaves (tulip poplars, ashes, a few birch, white oaks, magnolias, and especially beech now), but they are accented by the very deep, rust red color of the oaks (black, red and scarlet). A few red and sugar maples are still showing nicely, but the peak of bright red has passed. However, I find these colors are still worth viewing!There is good color developing from 3,000' and down, so if you drive the Parkway, you'll see nice color off of the overlooks. The Parkway...
Post date: 10/20/2014
 Gab and I took a drive all the way down to Maggie Valley, where we chowed down on BBQ at Butts on the Creek before heading up to the Blue Ridge Parkway (BRP). We took the BRP from there to Asheville, about 71 miles of driving. Prior to that, as we headed along I-40 through the Asheville area down to Exit 20, it was apparent that the trees were still developing their color –we saw a lot of green, although the upper elevations had some color on them. However, this drive never has great color, since it's lower in elevation than other areas, and there is a preponderance of tulip poplars (...
Post date: 10/13/2014
 Well, Mother Nature hasn't been cooperating lately. Today was quite rainy early on, and very windy at the high elevations. This has caused a lot of leaves to drop off, BUT, there is still great color up here in the High Country. So, don't be discouraged. If you're planning a visit, come on up!Fall leaf colors are peaking right now below 4,500' down to about 3,000', which is the elevational range enveloping most of the Blue Ridge Parkway. Above 4,500' many of the leaves have already fallen. Elsewhere, the colors this year are spectacular. My daughter and I rate the display this year...
Post date: 10/06/2014
 I took a drive from Asheville all the way back to Boone on Saturday to personally check out the state of leaf colors. The weather has been excellent recently, and the cold front that moved through over the weekend didn't take down very many leaves, which bodes well for future color development in the region. For most of the drive (from the Folk Art Center northward) leaves are still approaching peak, even at the highest elevations. Based on the rate of leaf color development, I think that the next two weekends, plus the week in between, will be excellent for taking drives on the Blue...