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WNC Fall Leaf Colors

A wet spring and forecasted warm temps this fall could spell a long lasting leaf peeping season, but with spotty color development. So says Kathy Mathews, an Associate Professor of Biology at Western Carolina University. The school, call her their resident autumn season "Soothsayer."

Mathews believes higher pigments in leaves is connected to dry conditions during the year. But she adds, "the rainy spring months this year portend somewhat muted pigments in the leaves this fall." "On the bright side, our abudant tulip poplars, which are typically the first trees to change in the fall, perform well in wetter conditions developing a golden hue that persists longer before browning," says Mathews.

Mathews emphasized colors may not be as brilliant. "Trees that produce red leaves, including sourwood, red maple and dogwood, perform best in dry conditions. Therefore, we may see fewer brilliant reds during the peak of fall color change," she says.

By: Kimberly King
Follow Kim on Twitter @KimKingReports


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