April 25, 2014

Challenging year for fall colors (AUDIO)

Trees might not be offering much color this autumn season after a record hot summer and continuing drought.

 Mark Twain National Forest Forester Charly Studyvin says the amount of color on the trees this season could depend a lot on the weather. “It could turn cold… a couple years ago when it was looking like it was setting up to be just a gorgeous year and then right when you think that the color will be at its height, we suffered some heavy rain and wind storms and it blew most of the leaves off, so the color only lasted for a couple of days,” he says. Studyvin says he’s worried that could happen again this season. “As a response to the extreme drought, the trees have shed some of their leaves early because they couldn’t support that many leaves, it’s just a natural response as a survival mechanism to get rid of some of their leaves,” he says.

Studyvin says leaves of many trees under a lot of stress because of the extreme drought have already turned a rusty-brown color. Most foliage usually peaks between mid to late October, and Studyvin is hoping more rain this season could turn things around for next year’s foliage. “There may not be as much color, because there aren’t as many leaves, and thank goodness that we’ve been getting some rain this Fall because the trees were under a lot of stress because of the drought,” he says. Studyvin explains if the trees continue to get more rain into next year, then they won’t be in stress for next year’s Fall season.

 

AUDIO: Mary Farucci reports. (1:04)