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Drought Could Make for Brilliant Mid-South Fall Foliage

Exceptional summer drought will have long-lasting effects into fall.
MEMPHIS, TN (abc24.com) - Exceptional summer drought will have long-lasting effects into fall. A popular fall destination for Mid-Southerners is the Ozarks in Arkansas. It is famous for brilliant colors on trees, but this year, many trees are already bare.

Leaves in that area are falling two months early. Experts say the Mid-South may be the place to be for the most picturesque scenery this season.

The Mid-South has had a perfect combination of dry weather and heavy rain at times to keep trees in the area healthy. Moderately dry weather actually helps in the photosynthesis process and helps to produce the bright red leaves that we see.

Chris Cooper, UT Horticulture Specialist, says, “The leaves are going through a photosynthetic process. They're going to be plush with sugar. So, the green chlorophyll that's in the leaves will give way to other colors like orange, yellow and the reds.”

Temperature also plays a big role in a colorful foliage year. Leaves like bright, sunny days and cool nights. Experts warn than at early frost could cause leaves to die and fall off the trees. Also, a heavy rain during the peak color time will lead to a decrease in color intensity.

Fall foliage typically peaks in mid to late October in the Mid-South.

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