Drought, early spring affect Illinois fall color

UTICA, Ill. (AP) -- Brilliant red, yellow and orange fall colors are popping up over Illinois but state horticulture experts aren't sure how long leaves will hold the hues this season after a summer drought.

Rhonda Ferree is a horticulture educator with the University of Illinois Extension in central Illinois. She says fall color is early this year because of the early spring and the drought. But she says rains from Hurricane Isaac in August gave some Illinois trees a reprieve. Experts in Illinois expect a shorter fall color season. Ferree says the drought caused some plants to turn brown early. She says once leaves turn brown they won't color.

Fall colors are visible in Illinois state parks, including Starved Rock State Park in northern Illinois and Sugar Grove Nature Center outside Bloomington.

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