Summer Heat Impacts Fall Colors

By: Ryan Dearbone Email
By: Ryan Dearbone Email

One of the sure signs that fall has arrived are the multi-colored leaves you see in the trees.

But with such dry weather this summer, a pretty fall is now in jeopardy.

We have more on how summer's heat will make a major impact on what you will soon be seeing.

It's the first day of fall, but you probably won't be seeing trees filled with vibrant red, yellow and orange leaves.

"A lot of trees are shedding their leaves. They're brown and burnt because they don't have enough access to the water," explained Dr. Razual Mahmood, with the Western Kentucky University Kentucky Climate Center.

Dr. Mahmood said the extreme drought this summer is wreaking havoc on our trees and plants.

They both need water to make chlorophyll, which in turn creates the beautiful colors you see in the fall season.

But without that, the plants just aren't the same.

"At least in South-Central Kentucky, we may not see as nice a color as we are used to," Dr. Mahmood continued.

We normally see colorful leaves from late September to early October, but the lack of moisture means that window of time will be shorter than usual.

"We are so dry and it has been so dry, I'm not sure that a large rain event could change things because plants are already shutting down," Dr. Mahmood added.

He said some of the bigger, taller trees may still be able to produce enough water thanks to their deep roots.

However, he assured that dulling of the leaves is just a sign of a bigger problem for the plant and tree life in our area.

"If we do not have a major tropical front come through, or if we don't start to pick up on normal rain patterns, will not have that re-charge," Dr. Mahmood said.

He also admitted this drought and its effect on the local foliage is the worst he's ever seen, and also
noted that this is a problem we can't fix, only nature can.

To learn more about fall foliage, click here.

Also on the web: www.kentuckytourism.com/colorfall


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