Tree expert says its too early to worry about fall foliage impacts


JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. (WJHL)- With several record breaking days of heat and very little rain, this extended period of drought could have an impact on fall colors-but Professor Emeritus of biological sciences Dr. Tim McDowell says that its too early to worry.

“The environment’s a contributor, I think we’ll have good fall colors this year sometimes we see a little bit of color, then there’s a few weeks with no changes,” said McDowell.

After a wet spring and early summer- the recent dry spell isn’t enough to completely spoil the fall colors.

“It’s been very hot lately and a lot of times when you have a hot, late summer, or early fall- that can delay the leaves changing colors, so it might not be as vibrant come late October, early November,” says Meteorologist Tyler Allender.

But, McDowell says that the colors we see here in the Tri-Cities has to do with environment and type.

“We have lots of different species and each of them has its own fall color,” said McDowell.

He explained that it’s normal for trees- like the dogwoods on ETSU’s campus to not turn as fast.

McDowell says, “Its behaving normally for its species, its keeping its color a little longer.”

…but the maple tree across the street-

“Its a landscape particular individual selection that has been picked for early bright color,” said McDowell.

News Channel 11 Meteorologist Tyler Allender agrees-

“There are different variables when it comes to the colors in the fall foliage and that’s why no two years are exactly alike,” says Allender.

And as far as what the fall will look like in the Tri-Cities this year-

“We still have to see the next couple weeks how long this very warm weather stays with us,” says Allender.

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