Fall Colors Are Coming Early

By: Brian Mastre and Mike Plews Email
By: Brian Mastre and Mike Plews Email

Trees are changing color about three weeks early and it has the experts stumped. A look around the area and it’s easy to spot trees changing color.

Isabel Cohen walks her dogs in Hanscom Park every day and she has noticed the trees earlier than normal behavior. Cohen says, “it seems like they are dropping their leaves a little earlier and I’m thinking perhaps it could be because we’re supposed to have an early chill and early freeze and then a warm winter and I wonder if the trees know something that we don’t know”.

John Fech watches things like this for the Douglas/Sarpy County Extension Service. He can tell you why trees change color but these early changes have him stumped. Fech says, "it's a bit of a mystery, we do know that temperature and day length are the big factors in determining when a tree starts to color up. We’ve had just a cooler milder summer and really that’s what we’re pointing to as the reason why we might see some of this early coloration but we are seeing it on a lot of different trees, oaks, maples, birches and some of the trees are under stress and some of the trees are not under stress so it’s a bit of a mystery”.

In any case it’s a mystery Isabel Cohen can live with. She says, “it’s a magnificent place, look at it, it’s trees and flowers and it’s in the heart of downtown Omaha just where I want to be”.


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