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Posts Tagged ‘#GFCfallcolor’

Fall changes hit high gear this past week across the entire north Georgia region and things are progressing rapidly. Georgia’s highest elevations are now past peak, and mid to lower elevations are at, or just past peak, so serious leaf peepers need to be making plans this week!

Northeast Georgia:

This week’s passage of another storm system has resulted in the complete thinning of many of the early turners: the early maples, the yellow poplars, the birches and the sourwoods. However, there are still maples just beginning to turn, and many maples are in full color change showing bright reds, yellows and orange. The hickories are also continuing to provide some excellent yellow and bronze shades, and sweetgums are in full color display with yellows, oranges and even some purples! And the oaks have really started contributing with reds, burgundies, yellows and deep bronze hues. And roadside sumac are displaying some electric shades of bright red this week.

Northwest Georgia:

While the northwest corner of the state normally lags in color change by a week or two, things have also hit full speed in this corner of the state. Maples, sourwoods, and hickories continue to provide some great color and the oaks are beginning to kick it up a notch.  However, as with NE GA, this week’s weather event has thinned out many of the early turners, and fall colors continue to provide showers of color with any wind.

Percentage of color change from green to date:  NE GA 90%-100%  NW GA 90%-100%+

Peak?  Peak is occurring across north Georgia now. Depending on elevation, latitude and aspect, peak may have already occurred or will be another few days getting here. However, this week into next week will likely provide the last opportunities to see widespread color change, though we will still have change occurring into mid/late November.

Scenic drives:

Northeast Georgia – Just about any drive through the mid/lower elevations in NE Georgia should provide some good opportunities. Try old US 123 from Toccoa past Currahee Mountain to the Clarkesville/Cornelia area. From Clarkesville try GA 197 north and then turn back towards Helen on GA 356. And the drive from Cleveland to Dahlonega via GA 115 or some of the more rural country roads connecting the two should provide some good color.

North Central/Northwest Georgia – Good Travel Routes include:

Highway 136 over Lookout Mountain; Highway 27 over Taylors Ridge; Highway 52 Fort Mountain overlooking Grassy Mountain; Highway 136 near Burnt Mountain.

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Color has found its way onto and into virtually every ridge and valley in the region. Last weekend’s chilly weather and strong winds thinned out the yellow poplar tops, and we even saw some light snow and a heavy frost at the upper elevations!

Northeast Georgia:

We are seeing changes in virtually all species, with sourwood, black gum, dogwood, sumac and maple continuing to provide majority of reds and burgundies. Maple and sassafras are giving us reds, yellows and bright orange hues. The yellows of the yellow poplar are thinning fast, but the birch, black walunts, and hickory continue with the yellows and golds – also provided this week by American beech, redbud and black cherry.

Northwest Georgia:

Cooler weather has kicked leaf color into gear. Sourwoods are showing red, dogwoods are giving us dark reds, and maples are providing variations of red, orange, and yellow. Some of the hickory leaves have turned yellow. Grassy Mountain and Fort Mountain don’t  have significant leaf color change yet, but the Lookout Mountain area and Taylors Ridge are quickly coming around. Peak in the northeast will probably be next week through next weekend.

Percentage of color change from green to date?  NE GA 40%-100%;  NW GA 40%-75%

Peak: The highest elevations are slightly past peak, but with the oaks yet to hit their mark, there will still be color at these uppermost elevations into November. Expect to see peak or near peak conditions at the 3000 feet elevation range starting over the next 10 days. Below 2500 feet, peak conditions should begin across the region toward the end of next week and running through the next 10 days.

Scenic Drives:

Northeast Georgia –The upper Tallulah River basin would offer some opportunity this week.  Travel GA 197 from Clarkesville up to Lake Burton and then travel US 76 to either Hiawassee or Clayton.  Or, north of Batesville, turn east off of GA 197 onto Burton Dam Road and travel around Lakes Seed and Rabun.  Remember the trip around Lake Rabun is on a very narrow road with little shoulder so stay alert and drive carefully.  And, the Richard Russell Scenic Hwy (GA 348 in White and Union Counties) continues to hold a lot of color and continues to be a good bet.

North Central/Northwest Georgia –  Good Travel Routes include:

Highway 136 over Lookout Mountain.

Highway 27 over Taylors Ridge.

Highway 52 Fort Mountain overlooking Grassy Mountain.

Highway 136 near Burnt Mountain.

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A week has made a tremendous difference in the amount and vibrancy of leaf color, especially at higher elevations. The cooler weather should help get things moving, as well and we’re in good shape for some excellent viewing in the next few weeks. We are starting see color at virtually all locations across north Georgia, but the best viewing over the next 7 days will continue to be at the higher elevations.

Northeast Georgia:

We are seeing change to some degree in virtually all species, with sourwoods, black gums, dogwoods, sumac and maples providing most of the reds and burgundies. Yellow poplar continues to show bright to golden yellows, and birch, black walnut, alder and the hickories are showing their rich golden hues. Maples are kicking in some yellow and orange, and so is sassafras.

Northwest Georgia:

The same species and colors are beginning to show overall, but the lower elevations are still lagging behind. Things should start picking up across the area in the next couple of weeks.

Percent of color change from green to date:  20%-90%

When’s peak? Elevations above 2500 feet are at peak or will hit within 7 to 10 days. Elevations below 2500’ will likely be a week to 10 days behind, which should give us good viewing into the first couple of weeks in November.

For a scenic drive this weekend…

Northeast Georgia’s highest elevations will provide the best color this weekend. Any trip through the high gaps (Unicoi/GA17, Neels/US 129, Woody/GA 60, Dicks Creek/US 76) will offer some opportunities, and the Richard Russell Scenic Hwy will continue to be a good bet. GA 60 from Blue Ridge to Suches is currently showing great potential. Note that GA 60 between Suches and Dahlonega is currently closed from 8:00-5:00 Monday-Friday for road work but you can connect with GA 180 at Suches to US 129.

North Central/Northwest Georgia –  GA 136 from Talking Rock to Dawsonville offers some good color, while the Lookout Mountain area remains a best bet for that NW corner of the state.

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Another storm crossed north Georgia this past week and left its mark, with many green leaves pulled off onto roads and yards. Some bruising and other damage has occurred, and temperatures have run in the mid and even upper 80’s in some locations. However, there is still a forest full of leaves that have just begun to change or that are just waiting to change.

Northeast Georgia:

Northeast Georgia is still mainly a canopy of green. However, we are definitely seeing change in individual trees and in groups of trees. And, depending on aspect (the direction the slope faces), elevation, and plant communities, we are seeing widespread change across some locations. Some of the best color right now is found on the roadsides and in areas with young growth and full sun.

Species that are currently showing color include the returning reds and burgundies of the sourwood, reds and some yellows of the maple and bright to golden yellows of the birch with the birch really coming on strong above about 2500 feet of elevation. We’re seeing more dogwoods with their reds and deep burgundies, sumac with some bright reds, and sumac showing yellows and orange-yellows. The yellow poplar, traditionally one of the early yellow color producers, is one of the trees that has seen early leaf loss, due in part to the storms, but you’ll still find it showing color in some areas.

Northwest Georgia:

Sourwood and maple continue to show color in the region that’s still showing lots of green. In addition, this week the northwest Georgia area is seeing cherry and yellow poplars starting to show some yellows, but again, a lot of foliage has been lost in the last two storms. Due to lower elevations in this area, we generally see about a week’s lag between the two regions, and next week or so should see increased change for the northwest.

Percentage of color change from green to date:  5%-40%

Peak should be the last week in October, into the first week of November.

Scenic drives:

Northeast Georgia – The yellows of the birch are really coming on along GA 180 between GA 17 and US 129. Take GA 180 to GA 180 Spur and travel up to Brasstown Bald, the highest point in GA.

Northwest Georgia – While it’s not vivid yet, a trip up towards Cloudland Canyon always provides a nice day.

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Fall of 2016 has been one for the record books. We’ve had record high temperatures…and we’re in the middle of a deepening drought, which has impacted this fall’s foliage season, and brought about a very serious wildfire concern.

Peak color has come and gone for most areas, but you’ll still see some nice, earthy colors. Oaks are producing a range of color from golden yellows and bronzes to some burgundies. A few maples have held out until now and are turning shades of red, and there’s still some green left in the canopy, which could present some color over the next week or so.

Leaf  fall is well underway and will continue for another couple of weeks. That opens up some pretty roadside vistas to see more rock structures and silhouettes of the trees. The leaves make a pretty carpet of yellows, reds and shades of brown, but that’s not necessarily a welcome sight to the wildland firefighters. Those leaves are fresh, cured and aerated forest fuel capable of rapidly spreading a wildfire. They also represent a problem in areas that have already experienced a wildfire over the last month as many of these fire sites are still “holding heat” in the form of stump holes and larger logs, and this fresh leaf fall can allow the area to “reburn.”

Whatever your outdoor plans are this weekend the Georgia Forestry Commission is asking everyone to be extremely careful with any outdoor fire use and to be aware that mechanical equipment, cutting torches, grinders, grading equipment and anything capable of producing a spark or heat is a risk to start a wildfire.

Burn restrictions and bans have been issued in a number of counties and national forests or other public lands across north Georgia, so please seek out more information if you intend to have a campfire, cook over charcoal or other outdoor fire use. If you do see or know about a wildfire call 911 immediately and as these fires can spread quickly do not try to put them out yourself but get to a safe place.

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Things really exploded across north Georgia this past weekend! Most of north Georgia is near, at, or just past peak, so this weekend should be an excellent time to tour north Georgia. Reds and yellows are still prominent, but the yellow golds of the hickories and the bronzing of the beeches and some of our oaks are creating many “golden” opportunities for color. Most species are fully engaged now with the exception of some oaks which will begin to show changes between now and Thanksgiving. The drought continues to make its presence known with increasing pockets of brown. With leaf fall now underway, these obvious signs will soon be lost.

We mentioned the drought again…. Wildfire occurrence in Georgia continues to escalate significantly and the forest fuels are reaching extremely low moisture levels, making control and mop up increasingly difficult. The Georgia Forestry Commission is asking the public to be extremely careful with any outdoor fire use and to be aware that mechanical equipment, cutting torches, grinders, grading equipment and anything capable of producing a spark or heat is a risk to start a wildfire. If you do see or know about a wildfire, call 911 immediately. These fires can spread quickly, so don’t try to put them out yourself but get to a safe place.

Northeast Georgia:

Leaf fall is fully underway and the higher elevations that were first to show color are the first to drop leaves. Expect to see many “leaf showers” thinning canopies as you travel the upper elevations. Good color can be found across the region, and as you move up and down in elevation you will have a chance to see the full spectrum of leaf color. Watch for the bright yellow golds of the hickories… especially in the early morning and late afternoon light.

Northwest Georgia:

The drought continues to hold northwest Georgia just a little tighter, and evidence of drought stress is increasing in many of the remaining canopies. However, the ever resilient forests continue to provide opportunities to appreciate the magic of fall. As in northeast Georgia, there is a bronzing effect going on with many of the oaks and beech trees. With some drought damage mixed in creating earthy brown patchworks, the still present bright reds, yellows and oranges provide some pretty contrast.

Peak is ongoing currently, and color should be around for the next 7-10 days. Winds forecast for Friday behind a cold from could bring down the rest of the canopy!

Virtually any drive through north Georgia will provide opportunity for color.

In northeast Georgia take a trip from Toccoa up GA 17 alt, then Old US 441 north to Clayton and on up to Dillard.

A little further west, head out of Cleveland on US 129 and then take a left on GA 9/US 19 at Turner’s Corner and travel back GA 60 and then left to Dahlonega.

Farther west, take GA 53 west out of Dawsonville, go right on GA 183, and then look for GA 136 west on your left and head over to Talking Rock and GA 515.

In northwest Georgia head west on GA 136 from Resaca and travel through Villanow and on to LaFayette.

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Mother Nature hit the “Pause” button! Across the region, the development of new color or the loss of old has been put on hold. In many places the color that was there has gotten brighter, but patches of drought-stressed and damaged tress have spread.

With the exception of the higher elevations, the canopies are holding onto a lot of green, and it appears we’re about a week behind “normal” peak color time.

Wildfires in north Georgia have escalated significantly.

“Forest fuels” are at record low fuel moistures.

Please avoid outdoor fire use if possible right now,  and if you do have a camp or cooking fire, have a water hose and shovel handy.

Also be careful with tools, charcoal grills and any other sources of sparks, flames or heat.

And if you do see a wildfire, call 911 immediately, as these fires can spread quickly.

Don’t try to put them out yourself but get to a safe place.

Northeast Georgia:

The best color is at 2500 to 3000 feet. The yellows continue to dominate the canopies right now, but the reds and burgundies are bursting on the roadsides and in the understory.

Species providing the red and burgundy hues this week continue to be the sourwoods, dogwoods, sumac, and black gum. The yellows and golds are being provided by birches, cherries, redbuds, some maples and yellow poplar. The hickories have picked up some speed with color ranging from neon yellow/gold to more bronzed yellows and golds. The sweet gums continue to provide both yellows and purple-reds, and the dependable maples continue to show yellows, reds, and oranges. Many are still in the initial stages of change and should continue to provide color for several weeks. Sassafras has also continued this week with yellows, reds, and orange.

Northwest Georgia:

Leaf change continues across northwest GA at most elevations, with upper elevations

(2000 feet) continuing to have the most consistent color. As in northeast GA you’ll find roadside color in sourwoods and dogwoods, but the dominant colors in the canopies now are shades of yellow.

Drought stress is readily visible in many areas, especially with some of the oaks which may miss out on the color change. However, roadsides and understories do hold color. It appears in northeast Georgia that the color has been put on hold below 2000 feet, so there’s hope that in the next weeks we’ll continue to see color development in northwest Georgia.

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 are known for.

Percentage of color change from green to date:

NE GA, highest elevations, 90+%

Lower elevations across north GA, less than 20% to 60%, depending on elevation, aspect and plant communities.

Peak occurs this weekend into the first week in November, with good roadside color and up to a 60%  canopy change.

Continuing drought conditions are having an impact. Color continues to develop but has slowed below 2000 feet.

For a scenic drive:

Any of  the past routes we’ve recommended are still pretty…especially the higher routes:

…Richard Russell Scenic Highway, GA 180 from Vogel State Part up past Lake Winfield Scott to Suches,

or… US 76 from Clayton to Hiawassee.

To the west, from Ellijay on GA 52 towards Fort Mountain State Park is still a good choice.

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