LITTLE ROCK – Arkansas’ summer-like start to autumn has slowed appearance of the state’s annual foliage show, said Kyle Cunningham, extension forester with the University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture.
“Fall color will likely be a little delayed this year compared to other years because of the post-summer warmth we’ve experienced,” he said.
The late summer and early fall dry spell also caused some trees to turn brown, especially on ridge tops in the Ouachita Mountains and other areas in Arkansas. Those trees, Cunningham said, probably won’t show any fall color at all.
There is good news, though. “The showers over the last few weeks may help reduce the number of trees browning up,” he said, adding that any trees that have remained green through the dry spell “may actually be more vibrant than usual once the color change begins.”
Northern Arkansas will be the first to see significant color, with the rest of the state turning in the following weeks.
When it comes to the fall color show, there are a few early adopters:
• Black gums – Some trees began turning in August with their oval leaves showing a brilliant scarlet.
• Dogwoods – Some of Arkansas’ dogwoods also started turning in August with leaves turning red and yellow.
• Sweet gums – The star-shaped leaves on these trees show yellow and red when fall comes around.
• Maples – Many maples, especially in urban landscapes, were selected for early color and were changing in September and October.
As fall progresses, look for oaks, cypress and gingko trees to add their colors to the landscape.