Fall foliage may not be as colorful this year

By: Kari Hall Email
By: Kari Hall Email

It's a big Fall draw for people across the state! But as we begin the season so famous for beautiful leaves, many have noticed instead, that they're brown and already falling from the trees. With the grip of a moderate drought upon us, Fall may not look as festive as we had hoped.

"We do hope for nice colors in the Fall. Typically in September and October with the drought situation, we probably won't have as bright a Fall as we usually do. I've seen years where the colors have been out for a shorter period of time and the window was a little bit smaller," says Gil Lawson of Kentucky Department of Tourism.

Brown leaves this early in the season is not only from the drought but the warm temperatures at night putting stress on the leaves.

"The drought is significant enough that we're damaging the foliage that's there before we even get into the color development," says Horticulturist Dr. Robert McNiel.

Horticulturist Dr. Robert McNiel says a quick change from green to brown happens about every five years.

"If we get into some cooler temperatures and still some rain and some low night time temperatures and we may still get compounds that will give us some color but it won't be as brilliant in shades as it has been in years past," says McNiel.

Fall foliage gives a boost to our economy from tourism each year and this stress goes well beyond the trees.

Lawson says, "It will vary across the state. Some parts of the state a lot of color and others it won't be quite as colorful as we are used to. I think people just kind of have to watch and see and hope for the best."

A significant rainfall within the next couple of weeks could bring colorful foliage to the plants. Otherwise, the change of Fall colors will be fast.

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