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Hot, Dry Weather Threatens Vivid Fall Colors

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(credit: CBS) John Lauritsen
John Lauritsen is a reporter from Montevideo, Minn. He joined WCCO-...
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MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – This summer’s hot weather has damaged our lawns and crops, and now hopes for vibrant fall colors are fading.

The heat and dry conditions in part of the state have impacted trees and plants of all species, causing some of them to change color early.

And there’s talk that they could make for less-than-ideal fall colors.

Currently, people are visiting the Minnesota Landscape Arboretum to see the flowers, but in a month they will be there to see the colors.

The arboretum’s Director of Operations, Peter Moe, is hoping this fall isn’t a repeat of last fall.

“Last year’s fall colors were not what we hoped for, and we knew that was probably going to happen because it was really dry,” Moe said.

This summer has been dry and hot, much like last year. The DNR said whenever we have a hot, dry July, the trees get stressed; and fall colors end up being not so colorful.

A stressed tree tries to change early. We are seeing some of that around the state right now.

Typically, fall colors begin at the end of September and last until late October. Many are still hoping that’s the case this year.

“A day like this is perfect,” Moe said Friday. “Trees are making a lot of sugar. This is a perfect day for photosynthesis.”

And there’s still time for rain to help the state’s main fall color attractions: the sugar maple trees. At the arboretum, they are still expecting the maples to pop, because despite the heat, rain totals there have been slightly above average.

“It was really hot this summer, but I think we have the potential to have very good fall color,” Moe said.

Moe said it should be too early to see fall colors if your trees are healthy. In about a month, some of the shrubs and ash trees will start to change. That’s when you will know right away what you are going to get.

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