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In northwest Georgia, the peak has passed! Still, Georgia Forestry Commission foresters say this weekend will offer some good viewing. With a 90-percent change from green, there’s still some color to enjoy. Dogwoods vary from red to purple, sweetgums are mostly purple and sourwoods are red. Oaks mainly have an orange tint, and hickories, poplars, birch and sycamore are adding variety with their yellows. This weekend is expected to be the last weekend to catch the leaves before leaf fall.

This week’s major temperature fluctuation and an expected cold front coming for the weekend will likely push trees to drop their leaves soon. Northwest Georgia is expected to receive heavy winds and rain at the beginning of next week, which should also encourage leaf fall.

There are several places to see leaf color right now in northwest Georgia: 1) Highway 52- Fort Mountain overlooking Grassy Mountain; 2) Hwy 136 from Gordon Co., through Murray Co. and into Pickens Co.; 3) Dade County – Lookout Mountain and Sand Mountain.

In northeast and north-central Georgia, the fall color show is also winding down. However, there’s still something to see! With the continuing drop of leaves, the true personality of the mountains is revealed in the exposure of the topography, allowing travelers to see the more subtle aspects of the land’s rise and fall. If you’re looking for color this weekend, the lower slopes of the mountains and the upper piedmont are still very pretty. Georgia Forestry Commission foresters report some late- changing maples and hickories that are worthy of “ooohhhs” and “aaahhhs,” and the oaks have jumped into the action in a major way with a variety of burgundies, yellows and bronzes.

There are still some relatively bright earthy colors to be found, but the season is definitely nearing the end. Lower elevations are past peak, but late turners bring change from green to 90%-100%. Elevations above 1500 feet are past peak. Many trees are now bare, but some earth tone colors are still present.

This weekend’s forecast for the north Georgia mountains calls for a brisk sunny day on Saturday with highs in the upper 40’s and low in the 20’s, so bundle up for a day of exploring. Sunday is expected to be slightly warmer with a chance of rain in the afternoon.

To catch the nicer late views in northeast Georgia, travel from Gainesville up to the Cornelia/Clarkesville area. The Chenocetah Mountain and Currahee Mountain areas to the south, and then eastward, provide some options; or follow US 441 up to Hollywood and then Historic 441 north toward Tallulah Falls.

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In northwest Georgia, GFC foresters report color change at 80-percent from green. This week, many species went through their color changes. Poplar, birch, and hickory leaves have moved into their yellows. Maple and sourwood leaves are red. Dogwood leaves vary from red to purple and sweetgum leaves are turning purple. Oaks are still green but beginning to change. Though the oaks lag behind, many other species are at their prime or maybe even past.

The first frost has occurred and some pretty severe weather at higher elevations was experienced last weekend, with light snow in some places. This has caused rapid leaf change in places, with many species already dropping a majority of foliage.

Some good places to see leaf color right now in northwest Georgia include: Highway 52 in Murray and Gilmer Counties; Hwy 136 from Gordon County through Murray Co. and into Pickens County; and Dade County, at Lookout Mountain and Sand Mountain.

In northeast/north-central Georgia, things are winding down, but the show is still not over. Lower elevations are at 80-100% changed from green; elevations above 2500 feet are past peak. The weekends of November 8 and 15 will still offer some color, but don’t wait too long.

Many of the earlier changing trees have now lost their foliage, but the second wave of color is underway. In the lower slopes of the Appalachians there are still maples that are just now beginning to turn. These same areas are seeing the American Beech progress from green to yellow to gold to buckskin tan. And many of the oaks are now starting to exhibit shades of red and burgundy as well as some yellows and bronze. While foliage this season has been generally more muted, there are still pretty drives to be found. Look for the colors to hang on for another one to two weeks, keeping in mind that a transition into earthy golds and bronzes happens toward the end of this period.

Weekend weather forecasts call for low temps in the low 30’s and highs in the 50’s and 60’s, with little chance of rain. The 10 day forecast contains additional chances of rain but there should be several good days over the period providing for good opportunities to head to the mountains.

In northeast Georgia, travel to Dawsonville and on GA 53 towards Jasper. Or ride up to Dahlonega on GA 400 and then GA 52 back towards Jasper. Also, from Clarkesville, a drive up GA 197 north towards Batesville and then back to the Helen/Sautee area would be scenic.

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The 2014 leaf peeping season is in full swing in the northeast and north central sections of the state. Georgia Forestry Commission foresters estimate the percentage of color change from green to date at lower elevations is 60-80%; higher elevations 80-100%, with highest elevations past peak. Colors are holding onto more earthy reds and yellows this year, but the effects are still worth the effort to get out and enjoy the next two weeks. The hickories have kicked in this week with golds and yellows. The maples have hit full stride and are in varying states of red, yellow and orange. The oaks have yet to fully join the show, but this is normal and just means they should be available to provide some excitement in the “second wave” over the next couple of weeks.

Weekend weather forecasts call for low temps in the low 30’s, and the 10 day forecast shows the “normal” October/November weather with high temps in the 60’s and low temps in the 30’s and 40’s and few chances of rain. As such, the progression of color change should be rapidly moving to 100% over the next week in the region.

For a scenic drive this weekend in northeast GA, travel up GA 365/US 441 to the Tallulah Falls/Clayton area. Continue up US 441 to Dillard or turn west on US 76 and head back over towards Hiawassee. Off of US 76 west of Clayton is the Upper Tallulah River area that is always a nice drive (note: this is a US Forest Service gravel/dirt road). GA 197 turns south off of US 76 for an optional return along Lake Burton and back to Clarkesville.

In northwest Georgia, maple, birch, sweetgum, hickory, dogwood, sourwood, sassafras, and sumac trees are all changing colors. The approaching 10-14 days will be optimal for viewing fall foliage. Poplar, birch, and hickory leaves are changing to yellow. Maple and sourwood leaves are red. Dogwood leaves vary from red to purple and sweetgum leaves are turning purple. Oaks are still green but beginning to change. Total color change from green is estimated now at 65%.

The next two weeks will be the peak time to view fall foliage in northwest Georgia. The first frost may happen in the upcoming weekend; if so color change and leaf fall will rapidly follow.

There are several places to see leaf color right now in NW GA:

1. Highway 52- Murray County/ Gilmer County
2. Hwy 136 from Gordon Co, through Murray Co. and into Pickens Co
3. Dade County (Lookout Mountain and Sand Mountain)

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#GAfallcolor – Fall foliage color change has progressed at a rapid rate in north central Georgia and the northeast Georgia mountains this week. The hickories and beech trees are adding a new dimension to the yellow spectrum. Maples and sassafrass are transitioning through the red, yellow and orange ranges. Sweetgums are also adding to both the yellow and red/purple shades, and the sourwoods and dogwoods are still blazing bright red.

In northwest Georgia, things are also picking up speed but at a little slower rate than north central and northeast Georgia. The sourwood, dogwood, and sumacs continue to show reds, with hickories starting to join the fun; their golden yellow peak is still a week or so away. The yellow poplars are still holding some golden leaves, though they were impacted by rains and wind last week.

Georgia Forestry Commission foresters estimate 20-25% color change from green at lower elevations. Higher elevations are between 50-80%, with the highest elevations now just past peak. Expect October 25-31 to be the height of the season in northeast Georgia, with northwest sectors lagging behind by about a week.

For a scenic drive this weekend in the northeast, travel from Dahlonega up GA 60 to Suches, and then either continue on GA 60 to Blue Ridge or turn right onto GA 180 at Suches and travel back down to US 129. From there, head north to Blairsville or back south towards Cleveland over Neels Gap.

In northwest Georgia, from LaFayette travel GA 136 up towards Lookout Mountain and Cloudland Canyon State Park. Or, from Chatsworth, travel GA 52 over to Ellijay past Fort Mountain State Park.

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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

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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.

Registration:
$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.

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