I'm sure you've noticed the bright colors of the trees turning throughout the Valley!
As of today, October 10th, here is the latest report put together by the Foliage Network.
According to the spotters, the western portions of the Highlands are already just about to their peak.
The Valley however is only seeing moderate color.
The Virginia Department of Forestry says our peak colors in the Valley are expected October 25th - November 10th.
So we still have a ways to go IF the weather cooperates.
For Pendleton, Grant, and Hardy county the typical peak is about now, but according to foliage reports their peak color might still be a week or so away.
What the leaves don't need is rain, So far the 7-day forecast is looking pretty dry. A good sign.
So what kind of weather inhibits colors?
Rain and moisture can washout the colors pigment.
Cooler than normal temperatures will also destroy some of the leaf's pigments, and ruin the colors. What we don't need is frost or nighttime temperatures at freezing, above 32 degrees is ideal.
What do we need for the colors to not just continue but to brighten?
The best weather for those leave to brighten is sunny, dry, mild days, and at cool crisp nights but with no frost.
Those are the best for bringing out these beautiful bright colors.
Lately we've seen exactly that, highs in the 60s and 70s, and lows just above freezing.
So why does the sunshine help bring the colors out so much? Well sugars that are in the leaves are converted to pigments, and those pigments bring out the bright reds, oranges, and yellows. Those colors over power the green chlorophyll in the leaves, since the chlorophyll starts to fade with the days sunlight starts to get shorter.
Some colors in our area:
|Beech||Yellow to Orange|
|Dogwood||Garnet to Purple|
|Red Maple||Bright Scarlet|
Althought it may not technically be peak yet, I'd reccommend enjoying the leaves while you can, and while the weather is mild and dry. This weekend is looking especially nice for enjoying those fall colors.