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Drought may draw fall colors out fast

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Photo courtesy of Gene Lange Photo courtesy of Gene Lange

Labor Day marks the unofficial end of summer, but the leaves are already starting to turn.

Experts say the lack of rain is playing a huge role in rushing the autumn colors because many trees are in survival-mode thanks to the drought. Depending on how dry the forecast remains, the leaves in the metro area could go from green to brown pretty quickly.

Though the signs of summer are still lingering, the last few weeks have been tinted with hints of fall and it doesn't take long to find a few leaves that are already turning.

"Trees are really stressed," Monty Heinrich, a horticulturalist at Wagner's Greenhouse, told FOX 9 News. "They are going to drop their leaves to try and save themselves."

That means there might not be much time to enjoy the autumn hues. Cool nights and warm days -- along with plenty moisture -- help to brighten up the leaves, but not all of those atmospheric ingredients have been present so far this year.

"Personally, I think it's going to be a little duller this year because of the drought," Heinrich said. "They go really fast from green to brown."

The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources has their fall colors map online now, as well as the tools to help people make the most of autumn. Their first fall colors report is expected to come out on Thursday.

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