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Illinois Fall Leaf Color -- 2012

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From: Cara Reiser
Rochester, IL
It seem as though the tree colors are much more vibrant than normal. are they?

Extension Message
From: Jay Hayek
Extension Specialist, Forestry
Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Sciences
Hi Cara:

I reside in east-central Illinois and I personally would not consider our autumn colors to be vibrant due to this summer's severe drought and excessive temperatures. Granted, many of our urban sugar maples, red maples, white ash, etc., are displaying some orange-red-burgundy colors, like usual, but the legitimate woodland colors certainly appear to be more benign, and less vibrant (in my opinion).

Just remember that geography and local weather patterns definitely impact local fall color -- maybe your "localized" area received a little more precipitation or maybe the tree species complex of your general area was less affected by this year's drought.

Again, geography and weather are the two biggest factors with regard to fall color. However, two additional factors which many people forget to consider are (1) tree species / tree diversity, (2) and personal subjectivity in quantifying fall color based on a single tree, a group of trees, a neighborhood of trees, a campus full of trees, a forest full of trees, and a landscape abundant with trees.

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