Plan your trip to the mountains, fall color should soon be vibrant

Published 4:08 pm Thursday, October 6, 2022

If you haven’t already, go ahead and book your trip to the mountains of the Appalachian Highlands.
Fall color is about to boom in the region’s highest elevations.
“Any time over the next three weeks that you can sneak in a mountain drive, it should not disappoint,” said Travis Watson, the campus arborist at East Tennessee State University.
Trees on ETSU’s campus have started the annual symphony of colors, and that’s true for a variety of spots in Johnson City and the surrounding area.
“But don’t be fooled by these early changers,” said Watson. “Urban trees are subjected to many more stress factors than woodland trees that can trigger early leaf change.”
The mountains of East Tennessee, Western North Carolina and Southwest Virginia should be “coloring up nicely” this weekend, Watson said, peaking in color through mid-October. For the lower elevations, from Kingsport to Greeneville, the parade of red, yellow and orange has started and should reach its most vibrant by mid-to-late October.
Hurricane Ian, which unleashed historic devastation to parts of Florida, didn’t fully unload on the area. Watson said the western side of the Appalachian Mountains were spared the worst of the hurricane’s effects, meaning plenty of leaves are still clinging to trees.
“Temperatures have remained mild and are forecast to drop over the weekend with frost possible in some areas,” he said. “This should really help set us up for great color development.”
ETSU offers 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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