Ideal fall color conditions are setup by 2 conditions:
- Good rains when the trees leaf out. This year we have very heavy foliage compared to most years.
- Warm dry weather in September and October that allows the trees to create sugars that are responsible for great color.
|Hailstone Reflections 2012|
These predictions are based on many years of research according to Kathy Matthews, associate professor of botany with Western Carolina University who studies the topic:
“The perfect conditions for brilliant foliage are bright sunny days in September before the temperatures start to fall, so the trees can produce a lot of sugars,” according to Matthews. “Those sugars in the leaves are what will produce the red pigments in the fall.” (quoted from http://www.wunderground.com/news/fall-foliage-forecast-20130827)It is too early to say for sure, but the last few weeks have been dry and warm and the early fall is not predicted to be very wet. My guess is that we might have another 2006.
When you visit to photograph the elk rut, be prepared to take a side trip to grab fall color landscapes. Ideal conditions don't come along often. So far this is sizing up to be an exceptional year for fall color in the Buffalo National River region.