Local expert says heat will speed up and shorten fall color change

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NEW HANOVER COUNTY,NC (WWAY) — Fall officially began 11 days ago, but it surely doesn’t feel like it and some trees are having an unseasonable impact.

Director of the New Hanover County Arboretum Lloyd Singleton says we can expect an early fall color for a shorter period of time.

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“They will go ahead and drop the leaves a little earlier,” Singleton said.

But, he says our local tree species are different than those out in the western part of the state.

“The tree species that we grow here are not as colorful as the ones out west,” Singleton said. “Besides, the dormant period isn’t as deep because we don’t get as cold.”



He says some trees are already responding to the drought stress and turning brown along the edges.

“We do want to see rain, but we would also enjoy the fall temperatures that are coming headed our way,” Singleton said. “Both of these things will reduce the amount of transpiration from the plants so they won’t be as drought stressed.”

He says Hurricane Dorian’s rainfall totals don’t play as much of a factor.

“That rain from Dorian is long gone and they’ve still been experiencing drought because we haven’t had much rainfall since,” Singleton said.

Singleton also adds good news related to the Halloween holiday: there is not a significant reduction in the crop yield of pumpkins.