We are seeing a number of trees, especially maples, that are showing
fall colors early. Often it is not the whole tree but sections. As a
rule, we consider early coloration as bad news as it often means the
tree is under a great deal of stress. However, this year, many of the
trees showing coloration look perfectly healthy. We think what has
happened is the trees have come through a cooler than normal early
summer and never hardened off to hot temperatures. Also, many areas are
very dry including some that had heavy rains in June. Now that the
weather has changed, the tree is simply entering dormancy early.
The tree has had plenty of time to store the energy reserves it needs to
survive the winter.
So, do we need to do anything? Yes, we do. Keep the soil moist as many
trees have had root
systems damaged from the last couple of years. We need to give that root
system time to
recover. This is especially important for areas that are still
experiencing drought or have had so
much rain earlier in the summer that soils were saturated for a period
of time. Lack of oxygen from saturated soils is just as damaging to a
root system as lack of water.
By: Ward Upham