[OPINION] How the Drought Could Affect the Fall Colors in Minnesota
As we hit the halfway mark of August we start to switch gears and think Fall. Time for harvesting, sweaters, all things pumpkin spice, and of course the changing colors that come with the season.
That last one might look different this year.
The extreme drought that Minnesota finds itself in is impacting more than just lawns and gardens this year. The severe lack of rain also has an impact on the fall colors we see.
In an article related to this topic, Lamtree.com shared:
Severe drought during the growing season usually makes tree leaves change color earlier and the color lasts for a shorter period. Some trees respond to drought stress by skipping the fall color change altogether; leaves just turn brown and fall off quickly.
They also shared that the conditions that create the best fall color display is spring and summer with plenty of moisture followed by a dry, cool and sunny autumn.
We didn't have that this year. We still have the potential for the dry, cool autumn, but the "plenty of moisture" part is the one we are missing.
If any of your trees are changing colors or dropping leaves early, it’s a sign that they’re stressed by the ongoing drought. I know the sugar maple in my front yard is starting to turn colors and it's far too early for that. Experts suggest continuing to water your stressed trees throughout the fall to help them recover.