Are there some trees turning color early in your neighborhood? You can spot the trees where fall has come early dotting yards along the roadway. If you have one of those trees you may not have an extroverted harbinger of a new season. The tree might be in trouble. Early frosts or cold weather does not necessarily speed up the change in color. Sunny days and cold nights does improve the reds in our fall landscape. But a tree that turns color earlier than the rest and begins to thin it’s foliage early could be a clear sign the tree is under stress. Many times it is an indication of decline, soil compaction or even girdling roots slowly choking the tree to death. If the weather has been dry irrigate from the trunk out to the drip line. Aerate the soil under the tree and then feed the tree when the leaves fall off this fall. Even though the tree isn’t growing and air temperatures are dropping, the roots can absorb nutrients in the warm soil and help the tree get off to a much better start next spring. Then mark your calendar for sometime in January to take another look at the tree. Prune out crossing branches, weak branches and open up the interior of the tree with your pruning. This will improve light and air penetration into the canopy of the tree next year and take some of the load off the tree at start up next spring.
You may be happy the tree is a colorful character and the life of the party but if it parties earlier than it’s friends it may be trying to tell you something!