Fall colors arriving early due to stress

Local News

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) — It’s not officially fall yet, but there are some signs it’s just around the corner.

Like the fall colors, they’re arriving early this year and it all has to do with the hot dry conditions.

“Usually like middle of September or end of September depending on our fall season,” horticulturist Laura Kalfs said.

Horticulturist at Landscape Garden Center Laura Kalfs says they’re not the vivid red and yellows you see in the fall, that’ll come in another month or so, but this year the trees are turning their colors early.

“Driving around town I’ve really noticed a lot of drought and heat stress, both,” Kalfs said.

The leaves on a lot of the larger trees are still green, but they will turn colors with the onset of cooler weather.

“Your trees will turn colors early as a sign of stress almost like you and I get sick they’ll turn fall colors early or they’ll drop their leaves prematurely,” Kalfs said.

She says she first noticed leaves turning their colors as early as June and July when conditions were really dry.

Kalfs says the drought is hitting the smaller trees hard.

“Thankfully we’ve gotten some good rain the last few weeks but if you’re living in a part of the state where you didn’t get rain definitely get a hose on your trees,” Kalfs said.

If you have newer trees, she also recommends using a granular fertilizer to help them for the remainder of the season or at least until the snow flies.

“They’re ready for dormancy, they’re ready for a break,” Kalfs said.

Another sign a tree is stressed is if it’s dropping lots of seeds.

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