Fall Color Report for October 7
Although summer’s warmth lingered in Western North Carolina a bit longer than usual this year, the weather has quickly changed to ideal color-inducing conditions. The days are still warm and mostly sunny, but nighttime temperatures have been dipping into the 30s. Leaves stop producing green chlorophyll when they feel such cold, revealing their stunning fall spectrum. Mt. Mitchell Ranger and Park Naturalist James Michael Sanders expects fall color to rapidly accelerate over the next week.
Fall foliage is just getting started at the highest elevations above 4,500 feet such as Mount Mitchell and Grandfather Mountain, where leaf expert Landis Wofford reports 10% fall color. Cindy Carpenter of the U.S. Forest Service observes “lots of shades of red, maroon, and orange in dogwoods, sourwoods, black gums and sassafras at the mid elevation around the Cradle of Forestry,” located in waterfall country on Highway 276 near Brevard. Many of the same species, especially dogwoods and sourwoods, are starting to turn in downtown Asheville as well.
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