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Appalachian’s Howard Neufeld is’s fall leaf expert

neufeld_t.jpgBOONE—The answer to whether there will be good fall color is a “definite maybe” in the first report of biology professor Howard S. Neufeld as an official leaf expert of the North Carolina Division of Tourism, Film and Sports Development.

The Appalachian State University professor’s weekly fall leaf predictions and scientific hints appear on the division’s Web site,, each Wednesday afternoon.

Neufeld says this year’s colors are hard to predict because it is still early in the leaf season and how the colors develop depend on weather conditions.

“This past week, the weather has been rainy, but as I write, the sun has just come out again. Our best fall colors usually come with cool, sunny conditions, so if the weather continues to be good for the next few days, we should still be in for a good fall color season,” Neufeld reported in his second weekly foliage report.

For the most part, green is still the dominant color throughout the High Country. It will take a few weeks for the colors to explode for ultimate display.

Neufeld wrote in his second report that sugar and red maples are beginning to show their yellow, orange and sometimes red colors while the birches have started to turn yellow. The Virginia creepers also are turning deep red as the trees on which they climb lose their leaves through the fall.

Neufeld advises, “Since it looks like the colors may be a little early this year, plan trips to the High Country anywhere from the beginning of October to mid-October. And remember, for every thousand-foot drop in elevation, the peak in fall color is delayed about a week.” also includes a detailed listing of scenic drives from across the state.

North Carolina is considered the South’s premier fall travel destination. For general travel information, call 1-800-VISIT NC (800-847-4862).

For more details, and for Neufeld’s Science of Fall Color column, visit his Appalachian State University Fall Color Webpage at