MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — For some trees in Minnesota, it’s starting to look like fall.

Arborist Jeff Hafner, of Rainbow Treecare, says the drought is putting stress on all trees, broadleaves to conifers. Without supplemental irrigation, they might be struggling to perform basic biological functions.

“We can see trees starting to shut down as the days get shorter,” Hafner said. “They start to change color in their leaves, and they start to shed leaves earlier than we might expect.”

How might this affect the fall color season?

“If fall color starts this early,” Hafner said, “it could reduce the likelihood that there’s that big peak of color, with all leaves being changed at the same time. Also…we can see a reduction in the vibrancy, as leaves look scorched on the edges and turn brown and fall off.”

To protect trees, watering is key. Hafner says that watering trees now will get them ready for next year.

“We’re likely not to make a big impact on this year’s fall color, but it definitely puts them in a better position to be healthy next year.”

As for how to properly water a tree, just turn a hose to trickle and leave it at the base of a tree, moving it every few hours.

“[Watering] few hours every week is a great rule of thumb,” Hafner said. “Just make sure that the soil at the base of the tree is moist.”

He advises Minnesotans to follow any water restrictions in their area, which generally have exceptions for watering plants by hand.