Enjoying fabulous fall foliage in central North Carolina with a few tips for winter

North Carolina news

RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) — We’re almost to the middle of November, but there is still plenty of foliage to fall for here in Central North Carolina. From stunning reds to gorgeous oranges and yellows, plenty of trees are putting on a local show. 

Izzy Dresler is the Garden Shop Manager at Atlantic Gardening and knows all about our local species and the beautiful colors they bring. 

Some of the trees include Crepe Myrtles, Poplars, Elms, Chinese Pistaches and Maples. There are still many more that produce fabulous colors! Dresler says we are able to enjoy a variety of species and pretty views. 

“I would probably say the Oaks and the Poplars, sometimes the Beech trees. But also stuff like the Dogwoods you’ll find growing out in the woods. But honestly, all the trees look great right now. Even the evergreens because they create that really pretty contrast. So if you see something really gorgeous and gold next to like one of the dark green Magnolias, all of that stuff is going to be pretty common around here.”

If the weather cooperates, Dresler says we’ll continue to enjoy the show.  

“A lot of the stuff is going to hang on a little bit longer, especially if we get these kind of hot and cold fluctuations like we’ve been getting. Also, we haven’t gotten any super big storms recently, so a lot of that is going to help keep the leaves on the trees a little bit longer.” 

One of the great things about being here in central North Carolina is you do not have to go far to find those fabulous fall colors. 

“Honestly, going up kind of towards 95 or towards some of your local wildlife areas are going to obviously give you really beautiful opportunities to see good foliage. Also, if you go somewhere with a good reflective surface of some kind of like pond or lake or anything like that, it doubles your chances of seeing fall foliage. You can look for it every day. It’s not hard to find,” states Dresler. 

Eventually, we’ll have to say goodbye to fall and hello to winter. That means you will probably want to protect your plants. Dresler has a pro tip to keep your plants warm this winter. 

“One of my favorite ways to winterize when it’s cold and you have small enough plants is to use a natural fiber pot or a plastic pot because the trick is when it’s warm during the day, even if it doesn’t feel warm to you, the sun is still out. So, the sun will heat the ground up and as long as you cover your plant before it gets dark and cold, a lot of that heat will stay trapped and kind of radiate from the ground.” 

If you elect to bring your outside plants indoors, it’s a good idea to check them and treat for any pests beforehand. 

If you decide you want to keep them outside, other household items you can use to protect your plants include old burlap, blankets, even a sweater. The key is to cover them, but not restrict them. 

“Baskets and pots and stuff like that tend to be my go-to because if you use one that’s big enough that it’s not going to damage the leaves, it gives it that little layer of protection so that you’re not crushing your plant. That’s the main thing, you don’t want to weigh it down so much that you just smother it.” 

You may think that the window of planting is over, but Dresler has debunked that myth. “As long as the ground isn’t frozen, you can plant. Because our temperatures are so inconsistent, the main thing to do is look at least five to seven days in advance and see what the weather is going to be like. If you’re planting something that’s tender, if you’re planting a tree, it doesn’t really matter. Make sure you have almost a full week of consistent warmish, even if it’s relative for the season.” 

Now you may need to give those new plants some extra love and cover them, but Dresler says if you can dig a hold, you can plant.

So keep enjoying the fall hues and be ready for those winter blues.

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