This year’s drought has had an effect on our fall foliage


SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) — If it has seemed as though this season’s foliage has been a little muted in terms of color, there’s a reason for that.

Make no mistake…we’re definitely within our fall foliage season. Trees have been going through their annual change from green to reds, oranges, yellows, and browns like any other year. This time around, however, it’s been a bit different. The set-up for how good or lackluster our autumnal color palate can actually begin in the spring and summer.

We all know how dry this past year has been, and the drought conditions we’ve observed have taken their toll on the trees. Excessively dry weather put a lot of stress on trees, causing them to prematurely shut down chlorophyll production. This, in turn, causes an early change in leaf color from green to the various shades of fall, which we began to observe earlier this year than usual.

Drought conditions have one additional side effect: early leaf loss. As trees stop color production, leaves will begin to wilt. All it takes is a breezy day or two, and those leave will make a beeline for the ground.

So, while we do still have time to enjoy the colors of the fall season, they may not be as vibrant or last as long on the trees as usual.

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