University of Tennessee
Forest Resources AgResearch and Education Center
Oak Ridge Forest Cumberland Forest Highland Rim Forest Arboretum
Fall Color ginkgo
What tree is that?

The Chemistry of Fall Color

The Physics of Fall Color

The Geometry of Fall Color

The Weather and Fall Color

Use this handy guide for identifying trees by the color and shape of foliage, for explanations of the science of foliage color, and for the best times to observe fall colors through the link to the Tennessee regional color guide. A click on any of the links at right will help you enjoy the colorful fall season.

Fall Leaf Color ???

Dr. Wayne Clatterbuck, Professor of Forest Management and Silviculture, UT Department of Forestry, Wildlife and Fisheries, provides some insight into this question in the following exerpt from his article that appeared in the Departmentís Newsletter:

We wish we could be more definitive with leaf color predictions because people want to make plans to view the landscape when leaf color is at its peak. However, leaf color really depends on the weather in the next few weeks. Can we confidently predict the weather two or three weeks in advance? Leaf color will depend on cool nights with temperatures in the high 30's and in the 40's and the amount of moisture we have in the next few weeks.

The color of leaves changes first at the higher elevations where it is cooler and progresses to the valleys at the lower elevations. Color generally begins in the mountains during the second week of October and advances to the valleys by the end of October and even lasting into the first two weeks of November. The changing leaf color is triggered by the shorter days of sunlight, and then influenced by temperature and moisture.

For more information, contact Wayne Clatterbuck at 865-974-7346 or e-mail at

University of Tennessee - Forest Resources AgResearch and Education Center
901 South Illinois Avenue, Oak Ridge, Tennessee 37830 · Telephone: 865-483-3571 · Email: