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Leaves Changing Color

Parts of Western North Carolina are starting to see signs of fall. The leaves on some species of trees are already turning red, orange and yellow.

Experts say the large amount of rain we've been seeing could possibly be the reason behind this. They also say if this wet weather pattern continues, the leaf looking season could be cut short.

"This year, because it's never really dried up, it just creates a perfect culturing, environment for the bacterial leaf spot and other fungal and wilt pathogens," said Andrew Wagner.

Wagner is the owner of Wagner Tree Experts Incorporated, he says trees are stressed and some are even dropping their leaves. The changes though aren't concerning tourism officials.

"It's really very early to make any predictions on how the fall colors are going to turn out this year," said Marla Tambellini.

Each year, thousands of people come to Asheville between the months of September and November to check out the leaves. Tambellini says the opportunities for visitors goes beyond the foliage.

"You have such broad microclimates that you know you will always find areas of pretty color and that picturesque scene that the visitor will be looking for, complemented by everything else that brings them to the Asheville area," said Tambellini.

Asheville's Convention and Visitor's Bureau turns to color experts like Dr. Howard Neufeld for color forecasts. He is a professor at Appalachian State University and he says Boone is seeing fall colors too. Dr. Neufeld speculates that the only way the fall color season can recover is if there is sunny and cool weather in September.

Experts do believe folks will still see bright, vibrant colors from Oaks, Sourwoods and Blackgums. Maples, on the other hand, may be a tad bit duller this season.

By Megan Schiering

Follow Megan on Twitter @MSchieringWLOS


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