Tis the season. Virginia residents (and lucky visitors) can check out the wine harvest, apple festivals– replete with cider and apple butter makin’– and pick your own pumpkin patches– all against the backdrop of autumn’s colors in the Blue Ridge Mountains. Leaf-peeping season is upon us, and soon the highways will be clogged with crowds who’ve come to ogle the fall foliage. But when to predict the peak season for a scenic drive?
A recent article in Nelson County Life honed in on the science of leaf-changing: “The colors of autumn are actually the true pigments of the leaves drifting to the ground. The green is actually a mask of sorts, a fake color, chlorophyll, caused by photosynthesis.” Scientists at the Wintergreen Nature Foundation are not predicting good color in Nelson County because of the stress caused to the trees by moths and drought. Despite this fact, the Blue Ridge Parkway will be hopping.
Peak time for foliage change in the Piedmont is expected for late October or early November, starting with tree species such as poplars, sweet gum, dogwood and maple. You can sign up for a weekly leaf report update to get the skinny on prime viewing locations and color changes. Don’t miss Virginia Tourism’s Fall Foliage Report and this new blog from the Dept of Forestry. For more information on the explanation of color change and the climate advisory, check out UVA’s climatology office website.
***Take some good photos? Send your Fall Color Shots to email@example.com.