Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Question of the Week

Fall foliage season is here! According to the Virginia Department of Forestry, the trees producing this beautiful display are:

  • Ash - yellow, maroon leaves
  • Beech - yellow to orange leaves
  • Dogwood - scarlet to purple leaves
  • Hickory - golden bronze leaves
  • Oak - red, brown or russet leaves
  • Poplar - golden yellow leaves
  • Red maple - brilliant scarlet leaves
Leaf color is nearing its peak this week in the higher elevations of southwest Virginia and along the Blue Ridge Parkway. The Shenandoah Valley is at about 50% peak and the Piedmont is at about 25% peak. The Coastal Plain will peak around mid-November.

How do you think officials predict the dates of peak fall color?
     a. cool temperatures at night
     b. freezing temperatures at night
     c. shorter days, longer nights
     d. soil moisture
     e. leaf spotters

Answer:  Believe it or not, fall foliage predictions are made by leaf spotters - park rangers, foresters, lodging and restaurant operators, chamber of commerce officials, etc. “If we’re driving somewhere, we’re looking,” says one official. Leaf spotters send fall foliage reports to the state tourism division or visitor's bureau who then post it on a website. Many states also have a hotline and will provide text alerts.

In Virginia, go to the Virginia Department of Forestry website for the latest report on Virginia's fall foliage. If you want to avoid the crowds on Skyline Drive, the website also includes fall foliage driving tours.


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