There are still just small pops of color here and there, like this burning bush shrub on Main Street in Blowing Rock. You can see the green foliage on the trees above it, still waiting for cooler weather. And, we’re about to get it! The forecast for the coming week is exactly what we need for good color development. With cooler temperatures and little rain, we should see an acceleration in fall foliage displays. Here’s an update from Dr. Howard Neufeld of Appalachian State University, who posts regularly on his “Fall Color Guy” page:

How were the trees doing? Well, they are… green! There has not been much if any color development in the two days since temperatures dropped. In fact, there is actually less color now because the ridges below Grandfather that were showing color two weeks ago had their leaves blown off by storms, and the ridge is back to mostly green. This is the first time I’ve ever seen retrograde fall color development!

At the high elevations on Grandfather the birches are much more noticeable, but other than that, there is not much to report. Just look at the photos I took in the accompanying album to get an idea of just how far behind the colors are this year. I estimate they are 10-12 days behind normal. We should be past the peak at the highest elevations on Grandfather, yet they have barely begun to show color as of today (Sat, Oct 13).

So, is there any good news? Yes. First off, temperatures are predicted to remain cooler over the next week with lows in the 40s and highs in the 60s. That should be perfect for stimulating color development. Second, trees below 3,500’ are still mostly green, which means that they still have the potential to turn color in the next two weeks. So, if you take the usual peak color dates and simply move them two weeks later, you’ll be on schedule for when the trees will change this year.

We’re looking forward to watching the progression in the coming days. If you’re thinking of visiting, come on up! Though the color may not be as easily predictable this year, we agree with Dr. Neufeld when he says that it’s always better in the mountains, with or without fall color!

Vibrant red on a burning bush shrub

Shrubs showing fall color on Main Street, October 14, 2018

Next fall update>>

Previous fall update>>

Main fall page>>