Saturday, December 20, 2014

Changing times, color


Leaves on a young maple tree burst into color Friday in Forest Park, 320 N. Locust St., Ottawa. Trees throughout the area are starting to change color as colder fall temperatures set in. More than 88 percent of the state has fallen into “extreme” or “exceptional” drought conditions, according to the Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism, causing visible damage and unusual conditions in timber resources. Vibrant foliage colors may be limited this year due to the drought during the summer months. Katie Dhungel, Kansas State Forest Service district forester, based in Iola, said the tree color change began earlier than usual for the area and it is an indication that the trees are suffering. “It’s actually somewhat muted compared to real fall color,” Dhungel said. “Some trees are simply scorched with leaves turning brown.” Well watered trees, like the young maples at Forest Park were taken care of during the dry spell helping them to survive and produce a little fall color.

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