Leaf color nearing peak
by Anna Oakes
"Sugar and Grandfather and Roan (mountains) are already peaking - this is the best weekend for them," Neufeld said Thursday. "This coming week and the weekend after will be the best for the lower elevations."
Neufeld said the warm temperatures experienced a couple of weeks ago may have delayed the color changes slightly, but now the area's cool nights will help speed up the process.
The weather forecasts are also favorable, he said, as no rain or wind events are expected to prematurely knock leaves off of the trees.
Neufeld's most recent report noted that the colors of sassafras trees are doing well, as is sourwood, plus sugar and red maples.
"Domestic maples in town are spectacular this year, turning red first in the top of the tree and then working down the crown," he wrote. "Birches and Fraser magnolias, and chestnuts are also turning yellow, the latter two eventually going to brown. Some tulip poplars are yellowing up also. Most of the oaks are still green, as they are late turners, but a few have some color here and there."
Despite the continued shutdown of the federal government, the Blue Ridge Parkway remains open for traveling. However, all facilities along the parkway are closed, and travelers are advised to plan ahead and visit towns along the way for travel breaks.
To read Neufeld's fall color reports, visit http://biology.appstate.edu/fall-colors or visit his Facebook page at http://www.facebook.com/FallColorGuy. For color reports for the Blue Ridge Parkway, visit http://www.virtualblueridge.com/color-reports.