Leaf color predictions can be quite tricky because of the interaction of environmental factors that influence leaf color. Most of the factors are related to weather conditions prior to and during the leaf color change. Specific weather conditions are difficult to forecast 4 to 6 weeks in advance leading to uncertainty about leaf color change particularly dates. However, past weather conditions do give trends for what we might expect with leaf color. Leaves will change color each year, but the questions about how vibrant the color will be, peak leaf color, when the color will occur and how long the color might last are influenced by temperature and moisture conditions.
The color of leaves changes first at the higher elevations where it is cooler, then progresses to the valleys at the lower elevations. Color in the mountains usually begins during the second week of October and advances to the valleys and the Coastal Plain of west Tennessee by the end of October and even lasting into the first two weeks of November. Thus, leaf color can be seen at various dates depending on your location. Peak color in the mountains is not the same date as peak color at lower elevations.
Changing leaf color is triggered by the shorter days of sunlight (photoperiod) which is constant from year to year, then influenced by temperature and moisture. Broadly, the weather conditions outlined below often yield the following leaf color results.
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