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Drought could bring early, drab fall


CHARLOTTE (AP) -- Maple and poplar trees are turning yellow and brown at least a month early.

Experts say fall colors could be less brilliant if the drought continues.

Nancy Roberts in Charlotte says she saw colors changing last week. But experts say the colored leaves won't last long and the bright colors usually seen in hardwood trees in the mountains won't be as radiant.

Biology professor Gary Walker at Appalachian State University says drought conditions shorten the period of time leaves stay on the trees when they change.

Forester Michael Cheek says getting color back into drought-striken trees would take two huge rain systems. Forecasters say that's unlikely.

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