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Drought stressing trees, leaves changing color early

The summer heat and lack of rain is stressing trees in New England. Some leaves are changing color weeks early.

MAINE, USA — Take a look around, and you may notice leaves sporadically starting to change from deep greens to dull yellows.

This summer's drought has stressed trees across New England. The impact of the drought isn't uniform though. It depends on the type of tree. Sugar maples, of which we have plenty, tend to be more vulnerable than oaks.

Despite this, it's too soon to say foliage season is going to be a bust.

Every season is different, and some drought years have produced vibrant colors for a short period of time. But a significant drought during the growing season tends to cause leaves to change color early, and not last as long. A more mild drought tends to delay the onset of color.

As long as there are no significant wind storms in the next 4-6 weeks, which would strip leaves from weak trees, at least some color is expected around peak foliage time, between late September up north and mid October farther south.