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Mother Nature can be sneaky! Just a week ago we were being teased with patches of fall foliage, and then a few days ago, as Emeril Lagasse would say, “Bam!” The forests began exploding with color.

Georgia Forestry Commission foresters are reporting lower elevation color changes in north Georgia at 20-25 percent. Higher elevations are at 35-40 percent and above. Winds from the storm earlier this week put some of the early turning leaves on the ground, but there’s still plenty to see.

In northeast and north-central Georgia, the sourwoods have really come out, with brilliant reds offset by the their white seed pods. Maples are beginning changes through their color spectrum, running from red to yellow to orange. Sassafras is also showing this same range of colors. The yellow poplars and birch continue to produce yellows, and the hickories are also beginning to display golden yellow hues.

The northwest Georgia region is also picking up more color. Sourwood, dogwood, and sumacs are all starting to show their reds. Yellow poplars have been displaying their golden hues with hickories beginning to get in on the action.

Leaf watching opportunities will be widespread in the coming days. Over the next three weeks one can expect to find good color at most elevations throughout north Georgia. Remember that the higher elevations will “peak” sooner, and color will be found longer/later at the lower elevations. October 25 -31 likely will be the height of the season in northeast Georgia, with a week’s lag in northwest Georgia. But don’t discount this weekend or the first week or so in November!

To see some good color this weekend, take GA 17/75 north out of Helen to GA75-ALT and onto the Richard Russell Scenic Highway (GA348). Travel north over Hog Pen Gap back down to GA180. Turn right and travel to Brasstown Bald (Georgia’s highest elevation) or turn left and travel to US129. Left on US129 takes you over Neels Gap and to Cleveland. Right on US129 takes you to Blairsville.

Out of Jasper take GA 5 north to GA136 near Talking Rock. Travel west towards Carters Lake and then GA 411 north to Chatsworth. Or – take GA 2/52 west out of Ellijay and travel towards Fort Mountain State Park and Chatsworth.

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The calendar says “fall,” but the season’s colorful foliage hasn’t kicked into full gear just yet!

Georgia Forestry Commission foresters estimate north Georgia color change still at less than five percent.

At lower elevations, the traditional early birds are indicating a bit of transition, including dogwoods, sourwoods, poplar and the occasional sweetgum. At elevations above 3,000 feet, some individual trees are popping through, such as the sourwood, sumac and maples showing some deep, muted red. The poplar and birch are adding to the mix with some pretty yellow hues.

While we are not yet to the point at which color is the expectation, or where one area is more likely than others to provide splashes of color, there are some surprises to be found across north Georgia.

Check out these photos for some examples of what is currently waiting to be discovered. #GAfallcolor


The 24th Georgia Urban Forest Council Annual Conference and Awards Program is October 22 and 23 at the Classic Center’s Foundry Building, 130 Foundry Street, in Athens.

The conference will provide a general overview of how this storm affected communities; how to be better prepared through making storm mitigation plans; performing tree assessments before the storm happens; working with staging areas for debris and wood utilization; communicating with the media; understanding declared vs. undeclared events; working with FEMA, GEMA, and strike teams; making scenario assessments; and learning more about damage and recovery of iced trees.

Join us for excellent general session talks, concurrent sessions, tours, and our annual urban forestry awards luncheon.

$135 for members (includes a $10 donation to Georgia ReLeaf)
$160 for non-members (includes discounted GUFC membership and a $10 donation to Georgia ReLeaf)

Scholarships for tree board registration are still available.

Kids and Trees
As cooler temperatures move into Georgia, residents are digging out their gardening gloves and getting ready for the fall season.

December through February is the best time to plant trees in Georgia and now is the best time to order low-cost seedlings from the GFC.

A lot of people are unaware that we grow and stock a wide variety of hardwood and pine seedlings. Our selection includes lots of trees that are perfect for home landscapes, and if neighbors or a homeowner association gets together to place an order, the savings can be even more significant.

Some of the ornamental selections offered by the GFC are river birch, dogwood, cedar, several types of oak, maple, crepe and wax myrtles and fruit trees. As few as ten seedlings of the same species may be ordered at a time and deliveries begin the first week of December. In addition to these smaller homeowner packages, the GFC offers 3rd generation pines for large scale reforestation projects spanning thousands of acres.

It’s really easy to go to our website and find everything you need. There’s a complete list of species and prices, along with ordering information, planting directions and much more.

To see the seedling selection and their descriptions, visit the Georgia Forestry Commission website at GaTrees.org/Reforestation. Georgia residents may also contact the local office of the GFC to order seedlings and get questions answered.

Sourwood - One of the first to show color in the fall.

Sourwood – One of the first to show color in the fall.

Recent cool mornings mean good things are on the way for Georgia’s fall foliage season!

Georgia Forestry Commission foresters say dropping temperatures, shorter days and a 10-day forecast that suggests more sun than clouds and rain can be expected to kick the annual color show into gear.

In both northwest and northeast Georgia, foresters are seeing some evidence of fall color on our highest ridges and summits (above 3500 feet elevation.) Maples, sumac and sourwood are beginning to tinge deep red. Yellow poplars are beginning to show their trademark yellows. However, north Georgia canopies are still green for the most part, with color change estimated at just five percent.

Significant color is still a couple of weeks away.

The Georgia Forestry Commission will provide weekly updates on where the colors are peaking and suggest some viewing areas for enjoying the season.

students picture
Responsible for trees on a college campus? Don’t miss this year’s college canopy conference, September 17, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., on the beautiful Berry College Campus in the Krannert Center.

Both technical and administrative tracks make up this year’s conference: Why Trees Fall Down; Critical Root Zones on Construction Sites; Pests and Diseases plus Management Plans, iTree for Tree Inventories, and Trees and Sustainability Plans.

This conference is for physical plant managers, landscape directors and crews, arborists, college administrators and anyone responsible for the healthy urban forests of college campuses. See agenda here. Great opportunity for networking with your colleagues from colleges and universities, public and private, across Georgia. For directions, click here. See map of Berry College here.

Berry College
2277 Martha Berry Highway, NW
Mt. Berry, Georgia 30149 (Rome)

4.5 ISA Certified Arborist and Municipal Specialist CEUs will be available. Up to 5.5 SAF Continuing Forestry Education hours. Certificate of Attendance available for landscape architects and others. Lunch included.

Registration fee: $50
Register here.

The USDA Forest Service is launching a new monthly webinar series! Second Wednesdays, 1 p.m.-2 p.m. EDT.

Urban Forest Connections webinars will bring experts together to discuss the latest science, practice, and policy on urban forestry and the environment.

Whether you work for a state forestry agency, non-profit organization, municipality, university, private industry, public works, or public health and safety, we have something for you! Each month we’ll highlight a different topic. Our presenters will discuss key issues, share the latest research and technologies, and showcase successful projects and partnerships that are putting science into practice.

The series will kick off on September 10th with a presentation on Urban Forests for Human Health and Wellness by the University of Washington’s Kathleen Wolf and Legacy Health’s Teresia M. Hazen. More details coming your way soon!

We are seeking a 1.0 CEU with the International Society of Arboriculture for each webinar. Check out our webpage for updates on the series.

Urban Forest Connections is a product of the Forest Service’s National Urban Forest Technology & Science Delivery Team. The team’s mission is to help inform environmental stewardship and sustainably sound decisions about urban and community lands and the broader watershed, for wildlife and people.

Future Webinars:

October 8, 2014 | 1:00-2:00 pm ET
What California climate policy means for urban forests
Greg McPherson, USDA Forest Service
John Melvin, California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection (CALFIRE)
Chuck Mills, California ReLeaf

November 12, 2014 | 1:00-2:00 pm ET
Tree Risk Assessment for Municipal Officials
Paul Ries, Oregon Department of Forestry
Jerry Mason, Mason and Stricklin, LLC


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