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photo by Cindy Cornwell Autumn colors and falling leaves are seen on this tree along Old Trail Road.The summers of near drought conditions have stressed some trees to the point of changing their leaves to the reds, yellows and oranges of fall a month early, horticulturalists say.

Trees in Indiana should unveil fall colors in early October and not during the final week of August.

City dwellers with water hoses and some spare time can minimize drought damage to their trees that provide shade, beauty and habitat for wildlife.

Forestry supervisors are asking property owners to water trees for 20 minutes every 10 days to strengthen them for the winter.

Although it might be pleasing to a few, early coloration is indicative that a tree may be experiencing some difficulty. The bottom line is that trees are being stressed because the lack of moisture makes it difficult to fend off disease and insects.

Dry conditions prevent trees from producing sugar through their leaves. Sugar provides energy to trees during the winter. A forestry manager reported, "every tree out there needs watering." "The trees are turning color and dropping leaves early due to lack of water."

Thirst has weakened many trees, making them susceptible to Dutch elm and other diseases. The National Weather Service office reports that rainfall is below normal.

Trees should receive an inch of water every 10 days, ideally by a slow trickle from a garden hose for about 20 minutes.


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