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Are Changing Leaves A Sign Of An Early Fall?

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PARAMUS, N.J. (CBSNewYork) — In neighborhoods across the Tri-State, leaves are starting to turn colors and in some cases even dropping to the ground.

Colorful leaves are synonymous with fall and a highlight of the season, but when people see leaves changing and dropping in mid-August it’s cause for concern, CBS 2 Meteorologist Elise Finch reported.

“They’re really not that green, so it is a little scary,” said one Paramus resident.

Bruce Rees told Finch it isn’t just the leaves on the trees in his Paramus neighborhood that are turning colors, he’s also seeing a lot of brown plants and shrubs.

“We’re finding things have been dying off a little bit ahead of time,” he said. “I don’t know why.”

Plant consultant Rick Isley said this year’s brutal winter is partially to blame.

“Extreme cold temperatures can affect the root system, the bark and it could limit the amount of nutrients that are getting to the leaf,” Isley said. “It can cause discoloration or secondary pigments coming out.”

Isley said there could also be plenty of other reasons we’re seeing discolored plants this early, including fungus and diseases. But he said most discolored plants are literally stressed out from simple things like too much direct sunlight or being watered too much or not enough.

For some of the plants that are turning brown all is not lost, Finch reported. There are actually things you can do to prevent this from happening next year.

“Feeding the plants in October is good,” said Rick Eisele, with Eisele’s Nursery & Garden Center. “That’ll help build a stronger root system which in turn will help the plant next year.”

Isley said that’s especially true for evergreens, flowing trees, and shrubs. He also described this year’s premature discoloration as scattered, and not a sign of early fall.

Arborists said trees in the Tri-State will start turning true fall colors in mid-September.

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