Have you noticed some trees in your neighborhood already turning colors and they never usually do so this early? There may be two different causes to blame.

Is Fall Arriving Early in Illinois?

I am 1000 percent a Fall girl and have been chomping at the bit to get the pumpkin party started since mid-July. The fact that local apple orchards are now open for the season and that I have been noticing a lot of trees changing colors for several weeks now is not helping to slow my fall-loving roll. (Is Labor Day too early to be putting up Fall decorations? Asking for a friend...)


Let's zero in on these changing tree colors for a minute.

Yes, some types of trees start changing colors earlier than others, and some of that color changing does begin in late August, BUT doesn't it seem like a lot of trees in Illinois are changing way ahead of schedule this year?

Yesterday I counted 5 trees changing colors by the short street I live on, and that is usually not the case at the end of August/beginning of September...so....what gives?

Reason Trees Are Changing Early in Illinois

Illinois hasn't seen a lot of rainfall this summer, and that plays a major part in trees changing colors. When trees are stressed they drop leaves early, and drought is often the primary cause of it.

Credit: Arturo Castaneyra, Unsplash
Credit: Arturo Castaneyra, Unsplash

Drought isn't the only stress that Illinois trees have dealt with this year, all the smoke from the Canadian wildfires likely had an effect on them as well.

Are Illinois Trees Suffering From Effects of Wildfire Smoke?

Remember back in July when air quality was dismal and Illinois was covered in a thick haze of smoke from the Canadian wildfires?  Yeah, it sucked for us, and our trees!

The other day I came across an article from MLive that said;

The thought from some is the smoke cuts the sunlight and then trees think it’s later in the season.

While it hasn't been proven that the wildfire smoke is causing trees to change colors earlier, I'm willing to bet it played a big part because it makes total sense.

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