Agent: No word yet on this fall’s debut

Published 12:00 am Friday, September 1, 2000

Temperatures have put a chill in the air in recent weeks.

Friday, September 01, 2000

Temperatures have put a chill in the air in recent weeks.

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Trees now sport some red and brown leaves.

Are these signs of an early autumn?

Not necessarily, said Dave Dyke, Ohio State University Extension agriculture and community development agent.

"Lately we’ve had weather to make it seem like autumn but now it feels like summer," Dyke said. "I’ve seen no indications that there will be an early autumn. It’s too early to say."

Dyke said turning leaves are actually a sign of drought stress rather than a change of season.

"A lot of trees with shallow roots are affected, like dogwoods," Dyke said. "In the city, the maples don’t get much water because the asphalt from the roads prevents a lot of water from getting down to their roots."

Dyke said that even though the rain has seemed plentiful this year, trees and other plants can still be stressed because of previous years’ droughts.

"Even though you see a lot of rain this year, that catches up," he said.

Dyke said bugs have also affected trees this year.

Spring came early, and was preceded by a mild winter, so insect populations are high this summer, he said.

Trees that are weakened by the drought are prone to insect problems, he said.

Keeping trees watered and fertilized would help, but most folks don’t need to worry about that because rains have put plenty of water back into the ground and most trees get sufficient amounts when people fertilize their lawns, Dyke said.

If you see a lot of insects attacking trees, check into spraying, he said.

On big trees, that’s impractical and Mother Nature takes care of insects through natural disease and parasites, he added.

Finally, keep an eye out for boring insects, Dyke said.

"Borers won’t attack healthy pine trees but they’ll work their way into a weakened one," he said. "Many people will blame borers for the death of their pines but that’s just a symptom of a larger problem."

Most people will have to wait until early to mid-October for the full-scale turning of the leaves, Dyke said.