- Associated Press - Tuesday, September 23, 2014

BLOOMINGTON, Ill. (AP) - Fall tree colors are expected to be vibrant in Illinois this year due to spring and summer weather, including plenty of rainfall, according to experts.

The autumnal equinox took place Monday night, marking the official beginning of fall. Some sugar and red maples have already started to turn colors, said Patrick Murphy, a horticulturalist and curator at the Fell Arboretum.

“Because we’ve had lots of rain, there should be good vibrant color and it should last long enough for trees to go through several color changes,” he said.

A drastic weather change last November caused the leaves of many trees to change before the final color stage, according to Murphy. Some trees are stressed from last year’s drought, which can trigger early color changes, The (Bloomington) Pantagraph (https://bit.ly/1uho8PC ) reported.

“So far this year we’ve had ideal weather - a good mix in the spring; a favorable summer; warm, sunny fall days with crisp nights,” said David Kopsell, who teaches horticulture at Illinois State University.

The fall tree colors could stick around for a while, according to Kopsell, if the first frost holds off a while longer and leaves aren’t knocked off the trees due to strong storms.

Cooler temperatures produce better colors, said Kelly Allsup, a University of Illinois Extension Office educator in horticulture.

“That’s what triggers the color; the chlorophyll stops producing, allowing the other colors to show,” she said. “If it stays cooler, there will be a longer display.”

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Information from: The Pantagraph, https://www.pantagraph.com

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