doughtmap 092419

The U.S. Drought Monitor map for Virginia shows much of Virginia as abnormally dry but portions of Montgomery, Floyd and Franklin counties in moderate drought.

Drought conditions will make for a less colorful fall in Southwest Virginia, according to Virginia Tech’s resident fall foliage expert.

John Seiler, a university forestry professor, said that a lack of rain will lead to a disappointing fall for leaf peepers.

Dry conditions across the region caused some trees to brown and drop leaves early. The timing of drought in the late summer, has made for a rough years for trees.

“The faucet just shut off in mid-July,” Seiler said.

Hillsides are more likely to appear brown than in years past, he said.

Some trees, though, like scarlet oaks and hickories have potential for colorful displays if they get a drink from rains in early October.

Regardless, there will still be an opportunity for folks to search for individual trees that might have received water from localized rains, but trees with vibrant colors will be harder to find.

He recommended people check out the Blue Ridge Parkway and other roads that change elevation quite a bit to search out colorful trees.

Last fall, was a good one for trees because of plenty of summer and early fall rainfall. And varying years are likely to be a trend, Seiler said.

“It’s always really good around here,” Seiler said.

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