Drought, warm weather dulls fall foliage

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Warm, dry weather has kept trees from developing vibrant fall colors. (WLS)

The leaves are a little less colorful this fall.

Unusually dry, warm weather has caused some local trees to drop their leaves early, while others haven't begun to change colors yet.

"You can walk through a lot of woodlands that have sugar maples, and you'll find sugar maple leaves on the ground that the tree has lost because they're cutting their water losses to conserve what they have," Morton Arboretum Manager Ed Hedborn said.

Visitors to the Arboretum have noticed the difference.

"This year it's a little disappointing because a lot of the maples have already changed, and a lot of the species haven't started," visitor Bob Roszyk said. "So we'll probably have to come back later in the month."

"I got an email from an arborist saying that because of the drought, there wasn't going to be as much fall color this year, in general," said visitor Deb Stein. "But we're outside and it's beautiful."

Peak season for fall colors in the Chicago area is due to arrive in a week or so. Hedborn said that a good rain shower might help bring out bright fall colors.

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