Hot & Dry Summer May Hurt Fall Foliage

CRAIGHEAD COUNTY--The fall season is just around the corner and for many of us in Region Eight and that means a weekend drive to look at the fall colors. But the hot, dry weather that browned your grass may have the same impact on the trees.

Crowley's Ridge State Park - like most of Region Eight - has been baking under the summer sun and lack of rain. This past week's rain may be too little too late to make this fall's colors brilliant. That's on the mind of people here like Rick Lane, "With this dry summer I'm really concerned. The last few haven't been really good because of dry weather."

But there' still hope for a colorful autumn - according to Crowley's Ridge State Park Interpreter Heather Runyan, "it's still a little early to tell what it is going to do. We did have a bad summer, which could cause some problems, but we still have part of september and october to get through. And if we do get good conditions then, we could still see some really good color."

Leaves are barely hanging on and may not make it until the peak season of color change. Trees are reserving moisture by limiting what the leaves get and some are beginning to fall. If the leaves will stay on the trees there is hope for a decent show of color. Says Runyan "generally, we start seeing the color change about mid-October. Our really good season is actually the beginning of November."

In order for leaves to become vibrant, rain needs to come during August and the first of September. A mild fall that consists of some rain, warm--but not hot--days, and cooler nights, could help the colors. Fall foliage enthusiasts can only cross their fingers and hope!

"I'm just hoping we can get some moisture and cool weather and maybe this year we'll have a really nice fall. It's always pretty out here in October and November," says Lane. While it is still a little too early to say exactly what is going to happen in Northeast Arkansas for fall foliage, other places such as Oklahoma and parts of western Arkansas may have a pretty good color show this year because of the rainfall they have received.