SPRINGFIELD, Mo. -- Autumn weather normally brings vibrant foliage to the Ozarks, but this year's colors may end up being a big disappointment. After the third hottest summer on record and below average precipitation since spring, trees across the Ozarks are stressed.
Peak foliage season normally occurs in the first few weeks of October, but many leaves are already changing and even falling off.
“Prior stressors are causing a lot of trees to change early. It’s really fairly early for any trees to be changing, and so all of the changing trees you see now and all of the leaf litter you see all over the ground is probably in indicator of the heat stress from this summer,” said arborist Noel Boyer, owner of All About Trees.
Even if we get a significant amount of rainfall before the peak season, it is likely that the damage to the trees is already done and this fall won't show its vibrant colors.