If you’re thinking the changing colors of the leaves this year is a little early – you’re right. And this year’s dry summer has a lot to do with it.

There’s a number of factors that determine when the leaves will change color and how intense the colors will be. One factor that never changes is the increasing length of night time. As the days grow shorter and the nights gets longer and cooler it changes the chemical process that leaves depend on for their green color. In school you learned that process is photosynthesis.

Typically, weather and temperature are the main factors in the changing of the leaves. This is a little early for the leaves to change as quickly as they are. The leaves on some trees have been turning color for a couple of weeks now. The lack of moisture in the soil is the biggest cause of that. What you’re likely seeing is dry-weather stress.

So now that trees aren’t getting all the warmth, daylight and moisture they need to keep leaves green, they begin to shut down. The veins in the leaves that carry the fluids into and out of the leaf start to close off and when they completely shut down, the leaves fall.

But this whole process shouldn’t begin for another couple of weeks. This year it’s well underway.