Columbia, SC (WLTX) -- The fall colors are spreading across the Midlands, but this year the leaves may not be as vibrant as normal.
It is the time of the year when the trees trade their green leaves for the more colorful fall hues, even though it is great to see, it is just as important to the tree.
"If they don't change and the leaves don't fall off, then basically the trees are going to suffer from the cold," said Dr. Kirt Moody. He is an associate professor of biology and environmental science at Columbia College.
He said, "They are going to lose a lot of energy, they are going to be freezing with frost, so they need to get rid of all of that surface area before the really cold weather comes."
The colors that we are starting to see now are always in the leaves, but as the daylight gets shorter and the cooler weather moves in, a hardwood tree will reabsorb the chlorophyll in its leaves.
Moody said, "So what is left is some other pigments, which don't have that green color, which are a little bit big and complicated in order to break down and reabsorb. What is left is the yellows and reds."
Moody predicts the fall foliage in the Midlands should peak over the next week and half or so, but he does not expect a great year for the autumn colors.
"I think that the fall has been a little bit dry and a little bit warm, neither one of those is great for leaves," said Moody.
Even if the autumn colors will not be as vibrant as the past, Moody hopes we can still enjoy the picture Mother Nature paints.
Moody said, "I'm just appreciative of the weather right now, it seems to be pretty good for walking around outside. Whether the colors are fantastic or not, I encourage everyone who has a chance to do that."
If you are wanting to view the changing leaves a little earlier, the Upstate of South Carolina is now in its peak color time for the season.
© 2018 WLTX-TV