RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - It's that time of year again, when the best show in town is free to see. The leaves are starting to change color.
Let's cut to the chase: what kind of year will it be in 2009?
"I get asked that question every year by people," said Richard Reuse of the Virginia Department of Forestry.
We went to the expert -- State Forester Reuse says the trees won't disappoint you this year.
"Every year is a good year, even when we have droughts and rainy weather, we still have good fall color, just some years are better than others," he said.
Richard says this year's 'in' color just might be red.
"We've had some cold temps, we've had some warm days we've had a lot of sunlight, I think the reds will be pretty nice," he said.
We think of leaves changing color when really they just lose the green -- exposing the other colors that you can't see in spring and summer.
"It's just the chloropyll covers that up while the trees are making food. When the trees stop making food, this time of year, the yellows and browns show up," Reuse said.
Richard's favorite trees for fall color?
"In the Richmond area, black gum is one of my favorites, a real crimson color, sumac, a smaller tree, real pretty. Poison ivy has real pretty fall color too, you just don't want the kids bringing that home for a leaf collection," Reuse said.
You haven't missed the show just yet. They are just starting to change in Richmond. A map from the Virginia Department of Forestry shows our peak won't be until early November.
But before you hit the road and go west, hit the internet first. The Department of Forestry has a great fall foliage website, blog and a newly improved 800 number. There's also a list of scenic routes that will show you the best color. See the link at right or call 1-800-424-LOVE.
Also, follow the link at right for recommendations from NBC12's own Phil Riggan on the best walks to see fall foliage in Richmond.