LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (KTHV) - Summer-long drought conditions in Arkansas have people wondering if we will see the typical explosion of fall colors. Trees in both the Ozark and Ouachita National Forests typically provide a panorama of red, green and yellow leaves, but foresters say those trees are shedding many of their leaves about a month too early.
"Some of those trees might have a little bit of drought stress and the same mechanism that makes the leaves fall in the fall, also is what happens when the tree's too dry," explained Tamara Walkingstick, Associate Director of UA Forest Resources.
Walkingstick said foliage is looking sparse in mid-September, but more rain could help change that. More than 38 percent of Arkansas was rated in 'moderate drought' in mid-September.
"A little rainfall would be a good thing, but you want a little dryness actually, because that dryness helps make the colors brighter," Walkingstick explained.
The peak time for fall color is usually the last week of October and the first week of November, when businesses in the state count on the trees for an economic boost.
Walkingstick says she's optimistic that the weather pattern will change.
"You want dry, cool, sunny days - not too wet, not too dry. And maybe, maybe we're setting up for that."
While the colors may not be as vibrant, Walkingstick says, no matter what, we'll still see some color in the mountains this fall.
To find the best places in Arkansas to see fall foliage and when the best times are for fall drives, click here: http://www.arkansas.com/fall/fall-foliage/