ETSU predicts ‘spectacular’ fall color

Published 1:45 pm Thursday, September 22, 2022

Expect a “spectacular showing” from fall foliage in the Appalachian Highlands this year.
That’s the prediction from East Tennessee State University’s Travis Watson.
“For the most part, the Appalachian Highlands region has seen ample rainfall this summer, which means the trees have kept a lot of leaves,” said Watson, the university’s campus arborist who holds a master’s degree in biology. “The cooler temperatures over the last two weeks combined with the sunny weather should make for a spectacular showing of fall color across our region.”
Already, the tallest peaks in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park are starting to show hints of what will become a vibrant display of gold, crimson and scarlet.
“Driving over Sam’s Gap to Asheville this weekend, it was evident that fall was eminent,” Watson said.
As for the highest elevations, Watson expects fall color to appear next week. In the mountains of East Tennessee, Western North Carolina and Southwest Virginia, he believes leaves will reach their peak the first week of October.
For much of Johnson City and the area’s lower elevations, color is likely to increase in early October. Plan for peak colors of red, orange and yellow in the lowest elevations around Halloween.
Watson offered one caveat: Cooler temperatures could trigger the leaves to change a few days early.
Starting this week, ETSU will offer a weekly fall color prediction every Thursday until the season ends. Find it on ETSU’s social media channels, as well as ETSU News.

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