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Appalachian’s Fall Color Guy Provides Updates on This Years’ Fall Colors, Leaves Slowly Changing

Picture and caption from Fall Color Guy’s Facebook page: “Here are the trees across from house. Note the clear development of yellow color on the tulip poplars. The dogwoods continue to get redder. Pictures taken yesterday, Sep 22.”

By Hailey Blevins

Picture and caption from Fall Color Guy’s Facebook page: “Boone has planted thousands of red maples, many of which are probably bred for their fall color. Some of these trees begin turning color in late August, but the majority have started to put on good color just this week, and will continue to do so until the middle of October.”

The High Country is known for its spectacular beauty. Each fall, people flood into the High Country, especially around the Parkway, to view the trees in their glorious shades of reds, oranges and yellows. Though it didn’t feel like fall was nearing yet in the High Country with the warm weather we’ve had lately, fall has begun. Officially starting on September 22, we’re already a few days into fall, and the leaves are starting to slowly change, right on time.

The Fall Color Guy has been carefully watching the trees for the past month, observing the small changes that tell us the beautiful fall colors are on their way. The days have been getting cooler and shorter, providing the ideal weather that leads to color change. The Fall Color Guy is an Appalachian State University biology professor. He’s a plant ecophysiologist who specializes in the effects of air pollution on plants. In the fall, however, he becomes known as the Fall Color Guy, due to the close eye he keeps on the changing leaves in the High Country.

The Fall Color Guy’s in depths updates can be found at https://biology.appstate.edu/fall-colors. His update for the month of September is up currently, and with October quickly approaching, we can soon expect another update on the fall colors in the High Country. In these longer updates, he discusses the different types of leaves and their colors and ideal spots for hikes to see the color changes.

In the Fall Color Report for Week of September 9, 2018, the Fall Color Guy wrote,  “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.”

This picture from the Fall Color Guy’s latest update shows how the fall colors are beginning to appear.

According to the latest report, the Fall Color Report for the Week of September 23, 2018, the Fall Color Guy expects the colors to peak around mid-October, “At this time, I’m still prognosticating that it will peak between Oct 12 and Oct 16 in the Boone area, week or so earlier at higher elevations.” But that doesn’t mean that we won’t see any color on the trees before then, as he pointed out. Already, the trees are slowly starting to change their colors.

In this latest update, the Fall Color Guy notes that trees that are currently starting to show their fall colors include sugar and mountain maples, dogwoods, sourwoods, sassafras, black birch, tulip poplar trees and magnolias.

On September 17th, the Fall Color Guy reported on the impact Hurricane Florence had on the leaves changing, “As a result, we had only minor damage – a few trees down and some branches, plus a smattering of leaves. But the majority of the leaves are still up, and as I mentioned in several posts, it was fortunate that the storm came this early in the fall leaf color season, as otherwise more leaves would have come off.” You can follow the Fall Color Guy at https://www.facebook.com/FallColorGuy/ for smaller, regular updates like these.

In an earlier post, he discusses the unseasonably warm weather the High Country is having this year and how it may impact when the leaves change and their colors, “…temperatures this week are predicted to be 5-8 F above normal for the rest of the week. It’s better for fall colors when temperatures at this time of the year begin to drop, and we haven’t seen that yet. It’s not as hot as last year, but it’s still to high for my liking.” It will need to cool off a bit before the High Country sees a good amount of color change beginning.

Hopefully, the cooler nights and the few cool days the High Country has had in the last week will spur the leaves into changing into their shades of reds, oranges and yellows. If the weather remains cool, as it’s supposed to this week, we can expect the colors to change beautifully in the coming weeks.