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Average Fall Predicted

October 13, 1995
By: LAURA CAVENDER
State Capital Bureau

JEFFERSON CITY _ If the cold nights and breezy days are getting you excited about an impending explosion of fall colors, don't get your hopes too high. Experts say this year will be just average in Missouri.

This year's trees will be "average to a little below average," said Bruce Palmer, forestry information specialist with Missouri's Department of Conservation.

The dry weather was the cause of the less vibrant color this season. "We're still going to have some colors," he said.

But even with a below-average year, this fall's display will beat what people in a lot of other states will get to enjoy.

~~"Even in average to below average years we've still got better fall color than a lot of states because we've got a great diversity of tree species here," Palmer said.

"I get people calling from all over the U.S. wanting to know when Missouri's fall colors will be." According to Palmer, the colors will be at their best in the remaining weeks of October.

Palmer said it's Missouri's wide variety of tree species that makes state's autumns so colorful. Each species hits its color peak at a slightly different time, which makes it hard to designate a certain day, a "burst," as Palmer calls it, which is the brightest and most beautiful. But it's the variety which makes Missouri's fall so exceptional in its color display.

So what color will the trees in your yard be? Hickory, white ash, cottonwood, some sugar maples, and elm trees will turn yellow. Sugar maple, sassafras, and other species will be orange; dogwood, red oak, and sumac will turn red. Palmer said green ash and white oak trees will turn almost purplish.

Wherever you are these next few weeks, the trees shouldn't be hard to spot. Although this display of beauty happens every year in Missouri, it's impossible not to take notice of nature as it sounds its call. Enjoy it while you can.