JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. (WJHL) – East Tennessee State University’s (ETSU) campus arborist encouraged leaf peepers to get out for one last weekend and warned this week looks like the peak for fall foliage in some areas.
According to a release from ETSU, low-elevation areas are reaching their most colorful around this weekend.
“This weekend may be the last good opportunity to enjoy the splendor and botanical diversity of the Appalachian Highlands,” said Travis Watson, ETSU’s resident tree expert. “Bundle up and head on out.”
Lower elevations from Kingsport to Morristown were the main focus of Watson’s report, and he said it could be another couple of weeks before all leaves had dropped. With recent bouts of high wind and near-freezing temperatures, however, that timeline might speed up.
“This could significantly reduce the impact of color as tree canopies become sparser,” Watson said. “As we move through this week and weekend, expect to see fewer leaves in general, but pay attention to the outstanding ones that are late on the scene.
“Our urban spaces are filled with maple cultivars that have been selected specifically for fall color and some of our native trees, like sweetgum, are late to change and provide a fantastic palate of reds, burgundy and purple.”
While the more finicky species may end up bare soon, Watson said oak and beech trees will provide pops of color for several more weeks.
Overall, Watson said this year has been a good showing. High summer rainfall and ample sun made for a fall display that Watson said was one of the best he’s seen in years.