This week the color change rate has really picked up! While overall, canopies are still holding a lot of green in many places, roadside color and the understory trees are getting into the season. Peak is still a week to week and a half away, but with a nice weekend forecast, you can’t go wrong heading to north GA.

Northeast Georgia:

Color can be found at virtually every elevation this week though you will still see a lot of green in places.  The uppermost elevations (3500 feet and above) are at peak or past. The yellows are dominating the canopies right now, but the roadsides provide plenty of the reds and burgundies.

  • Species providing the red and burgundy hues this week continue to be the sourwoods, dogwoods, sumac, and black gum.
  • Birches, cherries, redbuds some maples and the yellow poplar are showing yellows and golds
  • Hickories have now joined the festivities with vibrant golds and yellows
  • The black walnut has also jumped in with lemony yellows.
  • Sweet gums continue to provide both yellows and purple reds
  • and the dependable maples continue to show yellows, reds, and oranges, and with many still in the initial stages of change they should continue to provide color for several weeks.
  • The sassafras has also joined in this week with yellows, reds, and orange.

Northwest Georgia:

Leaf change continues across northwest GA at most elevations with the upper elevations (2000 feet) showing the most consistent color. As in northeast GA you’ll find roadside color with the sourwoods and dogwoods but the dominant color in the canopies now is shades of yellow.

* The species continuing in the reds are the dogwoods, sourwoods, black gums, and sumacs

* with the yellow poplars, red buds, and black cherries showing yellows

* and the sweet gums providing both yellow and purplish reds.

* The hickories are beginning to display the golden yellows they’re known for.

Overall peak is still on schedule for the last weekend in October to the first week in November.

Elevations above 3500 feet are now at or just-past peak. Lower elevations are at 20-60% canopy change.

The continuing drought will have some impact but you can see excellent roadside color now throughout the region.

 Suggested scenic routes this weekend:

Travel GA 197 out of Clarkesville towards Lake Burton. At US 76 go either  west over Dicks Creek Gap to Hiawassee, or east to Clayton.

Take GA 52 out of Ellijay to the Fort Mountain State Park area.


Fall is the perfect time to appreciate trees, and The American Grove website has launched a competition to find 2016’s “Great American Tree.” Trees that have extraordinary color, a unique flower, feature or story are being sought for nomination, due no later than November 30.

The competition for national stand-out trees is in its second year at www.Americangrove.org. Submissions must include a photograph, a description of why the tree is special, its location, species, and size, including height and/or diameter. Nominations will be shared via social media, including Facebook (The Grove), Twitter (@plantyourlegacy; #greatamericantree), and Instagram (american_grove). Nominations may also be submitted as an email attachment to sgranbery@gfc.state.ga.us.

From December 1 – 9, after the submission period has ended, online American Grove members will be allowed one vote for a favorite entry per person. The top five vote winning trees will be placed in the national competition. An “all star” urban forestry panel will determine the winner of the 2016 Great American Tree, which will be announced on December 22, 2016. The first place winner will receive $500, second place is $250 and third place is $100. The winning tree will earn a feature on The American Grove homepage. The 2015 Great American Tree was ‘That Tree’ located in Platteville, Wisconsin.

The American Grove is an online community for sharing experiences and knowledge about trees and the benefits they provide to communities throughout the nation. It is managed by the Georgia Urban Forest Council, a nonprofit organization whose mission is to sustain Georgia’s green legacy by helping communities grow healthy trees. Assistance is also given by the Georgia Forestry Commission, which provides leadership, service and education in the protection and conservation of Georgia’s forest resources. Learn more at GaTrees.org.

From the Savannah Tree Foundation:

We are wishing everyone well in the aftermath of Hurricane Matthew.

We want to remind everyone as you continue to clean up and remove debris to please practice safety first when it comes to your trees. Click here to read more about STF’s storm safety tips.

Please keep in mind basic safety gear such as eye protection, closed toe shoes, and a hard hat.  And chaps for anyone using a chain saw.

Hiring an Arborist

Do you need to hire a certified arborist to evaluate the health of your trees? Click here for tips and recommendations on hiring a certified arborist to care for your trees.

You can verify the ISA credential of anyone claiming to be a certified arborist here:  http://www.isa-arbor.com/findanarborist/verify.aspx

With so many trees blown over by the hurricane winds, we encourage everyone to be thinking about their replanting plans for the upcoming winter planting season. Not sure about what tree to replant?

Check out the Savannah Tree Foundation Guide to Planting and Caring for Trees in Coastal GA.

Also, you can support the Savannah Tree Foundation’s community tree planting program by helping to fund future tree planting projects.

Donate a Tree Here

More Community Forestry Storm Response Resources from the Georgia Forestry Commission


Cooler temperatures have boosted fall foliage quite a bit over the past week…

The drought continues to have some effects and we’re seeing early leaf turn and brown-up across the region, especially in the northwest.

Also, as these serious drought conditions persist, fires have broken out…and the Georgia Forestry Commission continues to remind you to be very careful whenever fire is used outdoors. Get a burn permit when burning leaves, brush or conducting acreage burns and go to the GFC website for all the information…GaTrees.org.

Northeast Georgia:

The highest elevations are best for color. At 3500 feet elevation and higher, we’re at or nearing peak. The highest ridges of the state include Brasstown Bald, which can be viewed at various observation points throughout the area on the Richard Russell Scenic Highway or on Brasstown Bald. Color change at these extreme elevations is between 75% and 90%. Below 3500 we are seeing individual trees and pockets of trees with color change running from less than 10% at the lowest elevations up to 50% at 2500 feet.  Remember that slope direction, latitude and species composition affect the timing so the estimates at elevation do vary.

You’ll see red and burgundy hues courtesy of sourwoods and dogwoods and also black gum, and sumac. Yellow poplar and birch are providing yellow and golds. Sweet gums are showing yellow and purple-reds and the maples are bringing in yellow, red and orange.

Northwest Georgia:

Leaf change across many areas of northwest Georgia including lower elevations is more widespread than what we are seeing in the northeast. However, the best bets in this area continue to be the upper elevations. Across the region many of the reds and yellows are leaning toward the earthy, muted tones but there are bright pockets to be found. Elevations nearing 2000 feet will likely find the best color this week but winding roads in the valleys will have treasures to be found. Percent color change in the area varies widely with estimates of 20% to 40%. We are still a couple of weeks away from peak in the northwest.

Dogwoods, sourwoods, black gums, and sumacs are showing some vibrant red, with yellow poplars, red buds, and black cherries showing yellows, while sweet gums are turning yellow and purplish-red.

Suggested scenic drives this weekend:

  • US 19/129 north out of Cleveland over Neels Gap to GA 180 on the left, just past Vogel State Park. Turn on GA 180 and travel up to Suches. Or, continue on US 19/129 to GA 180 on the right, and travel to GA 180 Spur to Brasstown Bald.
  • Out of Jasper take GA 5 north to GA 136 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.

North Georgia is experiencing a significant drought and that will have an impact on this year’s fall leaf season. Driving through the mountains you’ll notice some patches of brown, but color is beginning to show.

Northeast Georgia:

Cooler nights over the last week have helped jump start the fall color change. Dogwoods and sourwoods are showing various shades of red and burgundy, and the maples are turning to reds, burgundies and varying shades of yellow. We are also seeing some change in the birches with scattered lemon yellows. Yellow poplar is also showing shades of yellow, though we’re seeing many of these trees beginning to drop leaves.

Fall color normally starts at the higher elevations and progresses to lower elevations as we move through the season, so your best opportunity to see some of this early change is to travel Georgia’s highest elevation roads. Check out the Richard B. Russell Scenic Highway (GA 348) or the approach roads to Georgia’s highest point, Brasstown Bald (GA Highway 180 Spur).

Northwest Georgia:

The current drought has had a tighter grip on the northwest portion of the state, where we’re seeing some early leaf drop and some early change. Yellow poplars are starting to turn and drop leaves. Dogwoods and sourwoods are starting to show reds and burgundies.

The highest elevations of the region are the best places to catch a glimpse of the earliest changes in foliage, so the Cloudland Canyon and Lookout Mountain areas will be good bets for color.

Reminder! Because of the drought, fire danger is high! Be very careful if you’re having a campfire or cooking outdoors – and if  you do any outdoor  burning, be sure to get a burn permit from the Georgia Forestry Commission.


Here are some photos from the conference:

Do you take care of trees on a college or university campus? Don’t miss the

2016 GUFC College Canopy Conference, scheduled for September 14 (9 a.m. – 3:30 p.m.) at Oxford College of Emory University in Oxford, Georgia. This historic college located at 110 Few Circle in Oxford, Georgia will host us as we hear talks on best management practices and campus management plans and choose from tours which include the Trees of the Oxford College Quad, Oxford’s famed Yarbrough Oak, and tree care on a construction project. This popular conference is a must for physical plant managers and crews, landscape directors, administrators, arborists, and others who are responsible for healthy campus urban forests.  Meet your peers from other educational institutions, share projects, and gain new urban forestry knowledge and ideas. $50 to register.  Lunch included.  5.5 ISA CEUs will be available.  See agenda here. Register here.

Atlanta Canopy Conference Logo

“Trees Atlanta wants you to bring the arboretum home”

ATLANTA, GA, August 4, 2016 – Trees Atlanta will host its first annual Atlanta Canopy Conference on Friday, September 23, 2016 from 8:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. at the Trees Atlanta Kendeda Center located at 225 Chester Avenue SE, Atlanta, GA 30316. The conference is for professionals, community leaders, and residents to take the lessons learned from the creation of the Atlanta BeltLine Arboretum and apply them to their own projects while protecting our urban canopy.

An arboretum is a botanical garden focused on woody plants, which are grown for research, education and display. The Atlanta BeltLine Arboretum is a collective effort of Trees Atlanta, the Atlanta BeltLine, and members of the surrounding community. The Arboretum will continue to develop as the Atlanta BeltLine itself continues to extend to a 22-mile corridor of trails, parks, trees, native grasses, wildflowers, art and so much more, while also attracting pollinators and wildlife.

“Our canopy is changing. Good design can both protect and improve our urban forest. Trees are becoming more critical to our communities as our cities rapidly develop and transform,” said Trees Atlanta’s Co-Executive Director, Greg Levine. “This conference will include experts who will address how arboreta can improve quality of life and demonstrate solutions for urban environmental challenges.”

The Atlanta Canopy Conference will feature a morning keynote by Darrel Morrison, FASLA, a pioneer in the use of native plants and natural processes in the design of urban landscapes. The afternoon session, Building the Arboretum: Past, Present, and the Future, includes a panel discussion with four registered landscape architects from The Portico Group, Perkins + Will, Hedstrom Design, and Atlanta BeltLine, Inc. who influence the design, implementation, and continued development of the Atlanta BeltLine Arboretum. The Atlanta Canopy Conference includes sessions on landscape design, arboreta collections, soil, tree diversity and availability, and actions attendees can take to apply the best practices from local arboreta to their green spaces.

Don’t miss your chance to hear presentations from noted horticulture experts and landscape professionals to help you bring the Arboretum home! Presenting organizations include: Atlanta Botanical Gardens, Bold Springs Nursery, Cox Arboretum, Ecological Landscape Management, Georgia Tech Arboretum, The Portico Group, Perkins + Will, Hedstrom Design, Atlanta BeltLine, Inc., The Conservation Fund, Georgia Conservancy, The Nature Conservancy, and Trees Atlanta.

Full, half-day and student registration is available. Full-day attendees will be eligible for CEU credits (ASLA, ISA), and will receive lunch, conference gift bag, and a discount to Tailgate for Trees. Complete conference information and registration is available at http://www.treesatlanta.org/canopyconference.

Media Contact:
Karla Vazquez
(404) 681-4891