Posted by: Sandy Steinman | October 1, 2014

North Carolina Fall Color September 28, 2014

Fall Color Report for Week of September 28, 2014 | Department of Biology | Appalachian State University. has a new detailed fall color report for North Carolina

Leaf Color Report

Leaf color is breaking out all over the High Country this week.  I drove up into Ashe County (see my photo album that I posted yesterday) and there was abundant color scattered throughout the hills.  However, it’s just starting, so 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 3-4 days earlier than usual, which would put the peak around October 8-12, rather than the 12-14th But I won’t know for sure until next weekend (weather is a big factor here!).

On a few hillsides in Ashe County, particularly west of West Jefferson and over toward Todd, some forests were at reaching 40% in color, but most are still around 10-20% turned color.  Although a large portion of the forests were coloring up, the intensity of the colors has not reached its maximum yet.  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.

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.   A variety of goldenrods are providing a nice show of yellow, coupled with a number of different blue and white aster-like plants on the forest floor.  And on rock outcrops, the huckleberry bushes and sassafras saplings have turned red.

Colors are slightly more advanced at higher elevations, particularly at Grandfather Mt.  It looks like next weekend may be good at higher elevations in the part of the state.  It may several days after next weekend before the peak is seen in the Boone/Blowing Rock area at an elevation of 3,300’.

Jonathan Horton, from UNC-Asheville, writes: “I was just up on the parkway south of Asheville yesterday and things are still pretty green from here to Mt. Pisgah.  Along the high ridges, though, the sourwoods seem to be peaking. There are some maples and sumac adding color along the parkway, but not a lot of others are changing yet.”

Kathy Mathews, from Western Carolina University, says colors are still mostly green in the Waynesville/Cullowhee/Sylva area, but that individual trees are turning colors, much like in the Boone area.

For those heading to the Smokies, it’s still a little early according to their latest report, but colors will start appearing there soon, especially at the higher elevations, and then move downhill.  Check out their report at this website: http://www.nps.gov/grsm/planyourvisit/fallcolor.htm.

Also, don’t forget that you can check the webcams during the day to see how the colors are developing.   One link to many webcams in NC is: http://www.highcountrywebcams.com/

Additional fall foliage sites you should consider visiting can be found on my ASU fall color page at: http://biology.appstate.edu/fall-colors/related-links

VisitNC.com gets weekly updates on fall color from NC State Park Rangers, so be sure to check out their website at: http://www.visitnc.com/fall-1.

Finally, if you want a nice drive to view great fall foliage colors, try these roads:

Blue Ridge Parkway from Virginia down to the Smokies

Clarks Creek Road off of Rt. 105 in Foscoe over to Valle Crucis

Rt. 184 from Valle Crucis to Banner Elk

Highway 64 from Black Mountain to Hendersonville (including Chimney Rock State Park)

Highway 194 from West Jefferson off of US 221 over to Todd, NC and then back to Boone


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