Friday, September 03, 2010

Fall color guess: Above average color this year

The good folks at Ashvegas have a post about a Western Carolina University professor who predicts above-average fall foliage color in the mountains this year.

Apparently the extremely-hot temps this year is good news ... in a sense that the leaf colors should be vibrant.

Visitors to Western North Carolina’s mountains can look forward to a vibrant display of color this autumn, predicts Kathy Gould Mathews, Western Carolina University’s fearless fall foliage forecaster.

That’s because weather conditions during the spring and summer point to an above-average fall color show, said Mathews, WCU associate professor of biology specializing in plant systematics.

“It’s been a hot year in North Carolina, with above-average temperatures this summer. Rainfall has been slightly less than average during the spring and summer. These are two factors I look at when thinking about the timing and quality of fall leaf color change in the mountains,” Mathews said.

“While your garden may not have fared so well because of the soaring temperatures in June and July, the well-established trees and shrubs of our forests do not appear to have been adversely affected. All of which should lead to very nice color change this October,” she said.

Mathews believes that the formation of ample yellow, orange and red pigments in the leaves seems to correlate with dry weather throughout the year. The drier the climate, the more brilliant the fall leaves tend to be, she said.

“I predict this fall color change will be variable throughout the Southern mountains, but on the whole we should expect to see rich and attractive color change this season.,” she said.

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