ETSU: Lowest elevations enjoying peak foliage

Published 1:33 pm Thursday, October 20, 2022

Fall color is beginning to leave the highest elevations, but there’s still time to catch vibrant hues in the shadow of the mountains.
“This weekend may be the last good opportunity to enjoy the splendor and botanical diversity of the Appalachian Highlands,” said Travis Watson, East Tennessee State University’s campus arborist who has monitored autumn foliage for weeks. “Bundle up and head on out.”
 From Kingsport to Morristown, the valleys of East Tennessee are enjoying peaking colors that could stretch another couple of weeks. Recent winds and near-freezing temperatures have brought down a lot of leaves, however, and forecasters have said this pattern is likely to continue.
 “This could significantly reduce the impact of color as tree canopies become sparser. As we move through this week and weekend, expect to see fewer leaves in general, but pay attention to the outstanding ones that are late on the scene,” Watson said. “Our urban spaces are filled with maple cultivars that have been selected specifically for fall color and some of our native trees, like sweetgum, are late to change and provide a fantastic palate of reds, burgundy and purple.”
 He added: “The oaks and beech will hold on until the very end and shouldn’t be overlooked. Yellow beech and red oaks will dot the landscape for a few more weeks.”
 Ample rainfall over the summer, Watson said, paired with generally mild temperatures and lots of sunny days this fall helped make foliage in 2022 especially popping.
 “The overcast skies and dappled sunlight on our mountains have made for some excellent photo opportunities across campus and our region,” he said. “Overall, I feel that this year has been the best display of color we have had in our region for several years.”
 This marks ETSU’s final weekly fall color report for the season.

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