Natchez Trace Parkway Shows Off Its Colors in Williamson County


The Natchez Trace Parkway is always a beautiful stretch for a ride this time of year.

Take a look at this article from The Tennessean about the Natchez Trace Parkway:

Just drive.

Williamson County’s fall foliage should be bursting with reds, oranges, purples and yellows about now. And that wet spring, summer and fall we had might just make the gorgeous colors last even longer.

The Farmer’s Almanac puts Tennessee’s fall colors season at Oct. 12-28.

“We didn’t have a hot summer, but it lingered. And not a cold day yet,” says Todd Snackenburg, city of Franklin arborist. “In my opinion, that milder transition makes the color change last a little longer with more variety in the color.”

About seven to 10 days of cool nights should trigger the noticeable overall color change, which has already started in a few trees such as dogwoods and redbuds.

If we’ve forgotten our third-grade science, all this changes because less sunlight hits trees as the days grow shorter, so the tree stops producing chlorophyll, the green pigment. So the leaves turn colors.

By the way, that lovely purple-maroon leaf you see snaking up a tree, well, that’s one to admire from a distance.

“Poison ivy has a really beautiful fall color. Its glossy leaf really shines,” says Snackenburg. “Everything is good for something.”

In the next week, look for sugar maples with diverse purple, yellow and orange leaves and red maples with fiery red and flame-orange leaves.

Sweet gum, with the spiky balls that people don’t like, can have bright yellow and bright purple leaves on the same tree, he says.

Also, the black gum, from a different family and not as common, has lots of color along with a glossy leaf.

The red oak and white oak will probably be the last leaves to turn, but they tend to hold color a little longer, he says.

“Just drive,” he advises. “Tennessee is not lacking in trees.”

If we keep having sunny days and cool nights, this week could be the start of beautiful driving conditions.

But if it stays too wet too late, chances drop for good fall color, says Dwight Barnett, area forester with the Tennessee Division of Forestry.

“We’ll probably have more color toward Halloween,” he says.

Once it happens, though, Barnett recommends a drive south of Franklin on Carters Creek, which is surrounded by forest. He also loves a drive through Leiper’s Fork, the Fernvale community, Allisona and Flat Creek Road in College Grove.

Take a look at the article here.

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