Autumn in North Carolina











 


10/21/03 - The Lower Elevations around Boone are at peak. Wonderful golfing and outdoor weather. Avg. temp in the 60's during the day and the 40's at night.

Other areas in the higher elevations are slightly past peak but still very beautiful. I must emphasize the wonderful weather we are having.

 So come, take advantage of the NC High Country...

About the leaves


Hardwood leaves contain several different color pigments including reds, yellows, oranges, etc that make the brilliant leaf colors we see in the fall. After the flowering of the leaf, green is the overwhelming color of the leaf due to the energy producing chlorophyll the leaf contains.

As the days grow shorter the trees begin preparing for winter, shutting down the need for the sunlight used by the chlorophyll to produce energy. The tree begins to pull the remaining chlorophyll/ sugar energy out of its leaves.
 This brings to light underlying pigments such as red and yellow. As these colors emerge they produce a range of beautiful colors that eventually bleed to brown.

Why the Leaves are always spectacular in the High Country


The High Country Area of North Carolina is located in an optimal position due the cool air, geographical diversity, and mountain slopes. Year after year this area produces some of the most beautiful, if not the most beautiful fall leaf changes to be found on this planet.

 
Factors affecting leaf color
Frost – Frost breaks down the chlorophyll all at once, thus trapping the chlorophyll resulting in longer lasting leaves & color
Rain- a rainy summer and dry fall is best for the leaves. However there is a thin line between too little and too much. Too little rain results in the leaves over d
Slope- the high angle of a mountainside causes rain to run off the soil so it is well drained. This allows trees to have drier roots, thus, tree color on these slopes is consistently beautiful.
Temperature- Warm temperature results in the leaves turning color later in the fall, usually meaning a shorter season.
Stress- when a tree is stressed this causes the leaves to turn color and fall early
Stressors include man made factors such as nearby lighting, or natural such as a tree fungus
“Optimal Conditions for Brilliant Colors are cool clear days combined with an early frost, hopefully around the end of September.” - according to Dr. Gary Walker of Appalachian State University.

Looking for more information on taking your vacation in the High Country?
For information regarding accommodations, events, Dining in the High Country and things to do, visit the North Carolina Mountain Vacation guide.

 

 

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