Trees are changing colors across the country, so how is NC’s fall foliage going to look?

North Carolina

GREENVILLE, N.C. (WNCT) — Fall is basically here and trees are beginning to change from green to orange, red and yellow.

Scientists believe this year, North Carolina will see even more vibrant colors than last year as fall officially begins on Wednesday.

Trees are beginning to reveal their true colors all across the country. As the days get shorter and temperatures cool down, it triggers a chemical change in the tree leading to fall colors. Most of these pigments are already in the leaves, just masked by the green color of chlorophyll. As the green pigment dissolves, the true color of the leaves comes out.

The exact timing and vibrancy of the changing leaves rely heavily on the weather leading up to the fall. The best ingredients for bright leaves are average rainfall in the summertime, followed by sunny days and cool fall nights.

“Our state is really big, from one side to the next,” said Associate Dean of Extension for the College of Natural Resources at N.C. State, Robert Bardon. “And we have trees that produce fall colors from one end to the next. So there’s always going to be one spot in the state that we see more vibrant colors than other spots in the state. So there’s always an opportunity to see fall colors and they always look pretty”

Due to warmer-than-average temperatures, the peak season may be pushed back a week or two across NC, anywhere from mid to late October. If days stay sunny and nights get cold, the colors can even continue into November.

“A lot of people when they think fall colors automatically think of the mountains,” Bardon said. “And part of the reason is our mountains have a diversity of hardwood trees but we also have a diversity of trees across the state.

“If you miss the mountains, it will start changing here in the beginning of October in high elevations, and as we go down in elevation the colors will follow.”

Look for the changing leaves in the coming weeks and get ready for a vibrant fall in North Carolina.

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