Great Fall Foliage

first_img“The Weather Channel has color maps on the Internet that are supposed to show thewaves of color as they move through the mountains,” he said. “Services like that canprovide a much more accurate short-term picture than a long-range forecast like this.” * Cool nights with no freezes or frosts. “Overall, fall colors should be well above average,” Coder said. “The yellows may not beas intense. But the oranges and reds are on line to be great if the weather cooperatesbetween now and then.” “We’ve got a good leaf volume out there,” Coder said. “And so far we’ve had a prettygood year in terms of disease and environmental problems that affect tree health.” Fall foliage colors come in waves, starting with yellows and moving through the orangesto a final red-leaf peak. A person’s definition of the “peak” season may depend on whetherthe definer prefers yellow leaves or red. * Slight drought conditions in the last half of the growing season and on into the fall. Other factors, he said, include the volume of leaves on the trees and the overall health ofthe leaves. “From Aug. 15 to Sept. 15,” he said, “we usually got a lot of nervous calls from peopleabout the leaves ‘going early.’ They see the wild muscadines and maybe the yellow poplarsturning yellow and get worried. But that’s normal.” * Cool, bright, sunny days. “It doesn’t take much to break the leaves off,” he said. “The leaves are barely held onto thetree while they change color in the fall. A lot of wind and rain can knock them off beforethey develop their full color.” But Coder said he wouldn’t hinge all his foliage-viewing plans on that prediction. “The last two weeks of October and the first week of November are on schedule to begreat stuff,” he said. “Right now it looks like the orange peak should be about Oct. 29.” All Coder can vouch for now, he said, is that the stage is set for fall colors well aboveaverage. “The factors that set the intensity of the color have been very favorable,” he said. “Nowwe have to get the weather that will hold the leaves on the trees.” An early frost or freeze, heavy rains or high winds could undo it all, Coder said. Many yellow-leaf trees, he said, tend to color and drop early in any year but are morelikely to go prematurely in dry years. “This is not atypical. It’s really a keen indicator of theseason,” Coder said. The peak of the season, he said, is still more than a month away. Coder said cool, clear and dry are the keys to vivid fall foliage colors: “Dry weather helps bring out the best colors,” said Kim Coder, a University of Georgiaforester. “The weather we’ve had so far has set up an above-average year for fall foliage innorth Georgia.” To learn more about fall leaf colors, check the UGA D.B. Warnell School of ForestResources’ “Poetry of Color in the Woods” page on theWorld Wide Web. Dry late-summer weather has hurt south Georgia farm crops. But in north Georgia, thelack of rain has helped set the stage for what could be a glorious fall foliage season.last_img

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