By Jesse Wood
Sept. 29, 2014. While some urban trees along the roadsides have shown some vibrant color in the past few weeks, this weekend seemed to be the first noticeable change in the color of the forest.
“Leaf color is breaking out all over the High Country this week. I drove up into Ashe County and there was abundant color scattered throughout the hills,” wrote Appalachian State University Professor Howard Neufeld, aka “Fall Color Guy,” in his latest fall color report.
Neufeld mentioned that while most forests in Ashe County were still 10 to 20 percent colored, some forests were reaching 40 percent color along some hillsides in West Jefferson and near Todd. Neufeld added that the “intensity of the colors” hasn’t peaked yet.
“… We’re not near the peak yet, but it is on its way. And if I was to guess right today, I’d say the peak might come three to four days earlier than usual, which would put the peak around Oct. 8-12, rather than [Oct. 12-14],” Neufeld wrote. “But I won’t know for sure until next weekend (weather is a big factor here!).”
The higher elevations of Grandfather Mountain and Beech Mountain have more color right now than those at around 3,300 feet in Boone and Blowing Rock, areas that should color more in the following week.
“So, the dominant color is still green, but now individual trees with good reds and yellows are popping up all over the landscape, at least from 3,300’ and up in elevation,” Neufeld wrote.
“Those trees with good color this week include flowering dogwoods, red and sugar maples, birches and sourwoods (all turning orange to deep red). A few oaks (particularly scarlet) are starting to redden up also. Tulip poplars are just beginning to show yellow color, while Fraser magnolias and American chestnut saplings are actively turning yellow prior to their shifting over to brown.”
For a variety of sources to find more info on leaf coloring in your region, Neufeld has compiled a list of links and sites to see “great fall foliage” in the High Country and the rest of Western North Carolina.
For all of his fall color reports and updates and other pertinent leaf color information, follow the “Fall Color Guy” on Facebook.
Also check out Grandfather Mountain”s Facebook page for daily fall color photos.