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Trees are still green; Experts say it is no surprise

Published: Oct. 18, 2021 at 1:23 PM EDT
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LETCHER COUNTY, Ky. (WYMT) - October is more than halfway finished and trees are still green. Some experts say that is not a surprise, though.

Experts say tree leaves changing color is a natural occurrence caused by the colder climates and drier weather.

“That has been shaped through evolution that these plants are now reserving their energy so that in the spring, they’re ready to leap back out,” EKU Associate Professor of Biological Sciences Dr. Jennifer Koslow said.

However, Koslow said due to a late spring, wet weather, and hotter climates this season that is not the case as foliage across the region still looks green.

“I looked up some climate data and found that Eastern Kentucky, the latest data I had was from August, but that it was slightly wetter than the 20-year average and slightly warmer than the 20-year average,” she said.

Letcher County Tourism officials said they are still hosting fall events to keep the fall spirit high despite the lack of fall colors in the mountains.

“Even if people come and the leaves aren’t completely changed yet, there’s so many beautiful things to see here. With the Pine Mountain Trail, and Lilley Cornett Woods, Fishpond Lake, we have a walking trail in Downtown Whitesburg that people go on,” Director of Tourism Clay Christian said. “It’s still a beautiful place to see, so, even if the leaves aren’t fully changed, people still love coming into this area and seeing the beauty of it.”

Christian said this a blessing for the area.

“Having extra time to go to the lake, or hiking, or just that extended time,” he said. “We’re really pushing that, and people are enjoying having that extra time to go out and do things.”

Koslow said this environmental change could be a permanent one.

“We may actually see fall, the leaf coloring like that signal of fall, happening later in other years going forward as well,” she said.

However, tourism leaders are already prepared, setting up live camera feeds across the county.

There is one near Highway 23 in Jenkins and the other on top of Pine Mountain.

“That’s for two reasons, one, so people that are traveling to this area can kind of look at those and they can see what the foliage looks like, and come at the right time that they want to,” Christian said. “Two, we put that up for people that can’t make it to the area.”

What kind of foliage are you seeing in your community? Send us a pic on Facebook or tag us on Twitter.

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