Fall In July?

| July 31, 2009 @ 7:48 pm | 21 Replies

Anyone have a good answer for our reader Liz, who sent in these images? Maybe a tree expert knows; I really can’t associate this with weather at this point…

“Hi James,

I have attached some pictures of the trees around here (Blountsville) that have already started turning and the leaves are falling. I started noticing these in mid July. I am also finding more and more trees that way around here. What are you thoughts about this with the weather pattern lately?

Liz Dillard”


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James Spann is one of the most recognized and trusted television meteorologists in the industry. He holds the AMS CCM designation and television seals from the AMS and NWA. He is a past winner of the Broadcast Meteorologist of the Year from both professional organizations.

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  1. Ian (Alabaster) says:

    Those trees look like Yoshino Cherries…if so, it’s normal for them to drop their leaves this time of year. Mine are usually completely bare by Labor Day.

  2. JJ Eubank says:

    I agree….it’s weird. I just went outside and picked up autumn color maple leaves o the ground from our trees out back just to clean up the debris from the recent rainstorms and wondered about the color. Just from memory it seems like at the most, this time of year, they get color from the stress of a hot summer but I’m no expert.

  3. db says:

    Our dogwood trees usually start turning color in August. I think its a little early this year, too. Also, i have some camellia buds that started to show pink color. Normally they turn pink in late Sept or early Oct.

  4. Sue says:

    Arboriculturist please stand up? My marigolds think it is Fall and have gone to seed. Some trees at the farm are acting like late September. It must be the cool weather.

  5. Liz D says:

    I am the one who sent the pictures, and all of trees around here are doing this. It is just not one kind of tree. It is crazy!

  6. Janet Calhoun says:

    I’m seeing it too. I live on Straight Mountain in Blount County. The leaves on my weeping cherry tree are turning yellow about 2 weeks earlier than normal. And I’ve seen a few trees on 231 north that seem to be a bit ahead of schedule, too.

  7. BeninGrantley says:

    Well, I am no arboculturist, but I did stay at a holiday inn express last night…haha…couldnt resisit…but I do have 30 yrs expeirence in forestry with the USFS. Hardwood trees showing color and dropping their leaves this early can be attributed to a couple different things. Most common is stress, ie drought, injury…some type of blight or pest. Drought is probably the case here. Even though we have had ample rain this year trees can take many years to recover from drought. They are not as affected by short term rain as are weedy and soft plants, like your flowers and vegetables. Trees that are subected to drought periods like we have had the past 3-4 yrs prior can take 7-10 yrs to recover. So, my prognosis is that these trees are stresses by the drought and that period of no rain we saw for 5-6 weeks back in may and june probably put them in a stress again and then the cool weather that followed with these cloudy days and diminished sunlight the past 2 weeks have them losing their leaves in defense. The drought started it and the cloudy weather helped it along with lack of photosynthesis. Sorry for the novel…hope this helps.

  8. Clell says:

    I am not a arboculturist (tree person) myself either, and I stayed at the Clarion. LOL
    But the above comments seem very logical to me. Now, if it had dipped to 50 degrees or so, we would be looking at a different cause.

  9. Liz D says:

    Thanks BeninGrantley!

  10. Greg says:

    I live near Blountsville and we were extremely dry for about 3-4 weeks prior to this latest round of rain. I have a patch of grass where the depth of soil beneath it is only about a foot. It was dry enough to turn that grass brown, so that dryness coupled with the stress discussion above probably accounts for the early “fall”. We have some trees here that are doing the same thing.

  11. Matt Padgett says:

    Ian, definitely an flowering Japanese Cherry tree and those always start to drop leaves in August.

    Ben in Grantley you nailed it on the those for a lot of parts of the state. Last year was a beautiful Fall and hopefully this year’s will be better.

  12. Matthew says:


    You know what is causing this…..

    All together now:


    [Sorry….I couldn’t resist….commence the flaming….]



  13. Suzie in Argo says:

    Run Matthew, run!!!

  14. Tom Waller, Columbus MS says:

    From many years of experience with my own trees, the early leaf color change and drop is due to excessive rainfall in the early summer followed by a period of short term drought and/or heat stress like we had here in Columbus up until about a week to 10 days ago when it started raining again. Trees react fairly quickly to any soil moisture or heat changes and do so by dropping leaves as their first defense to survive. I have several river birch and tulip poplar trees in my yard and they are the first to go under any short or longer term “drought” condition of even a week here in the summer with no rain.
    If it goes as long as 2 – 3 weeks, my yard begins to get covered with the tree’s method of survival due to drop in soil moisture – leaves turning yellow and then dropping off. Hope that gets this issue of why tree leaves turn yellow in the middle of the summer or drop off. Take care and May God Bless, Tom Waller, Columbus MS

  15. RealOne says:

    It’s Planet X. It’s starting it’s moving towards the earth and causing the beginnings of a gravitational pull. It’s coming soon. You will see more and more weather pattern and oceanic disturbances.

  16. goldy says:

    Here in Seattle, the leafs on our oak trees begin dying off as early as July and start trickling to the ground in mid July. Itd a slow but steady process in preperation for fall. But here it does start as early as mid July. Believe it or not

  17. DISPERSANT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! says:

    @RealOne Says

    Well, I almost agree. It is Planet X—- Planet CoreXit, that is. Scientists have warned the US about Corexit’s ability to aerosolize and spread via rain killing all plant and animal life in its wake…
    There is MAJOR oxygen depletion right now in the Gulf. Could be affecting trees, too!

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