When will the leaves change in Western North Carolina?

ref url: http://www.visitnc.com/north-carolina-articles.asp?articleid=1050

date: 9/3/2007
2007 Fall Color Preview
There's no doubt that the fall is the best time of year to visit the Smoky Mountains of North Carolina.

What is it that we will need in the coming weeks/months to have great color this year? As in any year, lead color change in our deciduous trees is best when days are sunny, nights are cool, no major stormy weather blows through to strip off foliage, and the soil moisture levels are sufficient to keep trees in a healthy condition. At the time when chlorophyll (green pigment) in the tree’s leaves is diminishing and other pigments are coming to view, weather that is cloudy, wet, or warm will slow or hinder this process, and colors may be drab or non-existent.

Freezing weather, winds and storms can take away foliage before the color change is complete. Very warm weather may cause foliage to stay green longer, and extremely dry conditions will hasten the withering or curling of foliage without much color change. All these environmental factors can come and go during the summer months without affecting the fall color, but what is happening during the weeks of chlorophyll shutdown are the factors of importance.
Predicting fall color is essentially predicting which climatic factor will persist or change during the time of mid-September through October, when the color change really begins.
You can check here for updates from September to mid-November for the latest observations - The Foliage Network -
Because there has been a lack of rain in 2008 we are expecting a short leaf season in early October in the Cashiers, Highlands NC area.
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