Clemson University Professor gives Fall Foliage Forecast

It’s fall and that means visitors will soon be coming to the Upstate of South Carolina to see the leaves as they change colors. Clemson University Forest Ecologist Dr. Don Hagan gives his annual fall foliage forecast. “Every year I take trips up to the mountains usually late summer or early fall with my students. It really gives me that opportunity to see those early stages of fall color development and helps me compare this year to last year and the year before and helps me get a rough idea of what we can expect. One thing that really stuck me this year was the sharp contrast between this year and last year. Last year, we had an early start to the fall color season. I think a lot of that was due to some left over drought stress from 2016 and then we just got whack by what was left of Hurricane Irma last year. It really kind of messed up our fall color season a little bit last year. This year is totally different, we had a relatively mild summer, we had a lot of rain and I was a little concerned that we might get hit pretty hard by Hurricane Florence, but it really didn’t hit us too hard. So, the leaves are still mostly on the trees, even up there at the highest elevations they didn’t get blown off by the hurricane like last year. So, in a nutshell, it does appear like our fall color season is probably going to start a couple days later than normal and could potentially last a little longer assuming that we have normal fall weather with slightly above average temperatures.” Dr. Hagan said a good fall color season typically is defined as a season with a multitude of different colors across the landscape at the same time.