Early fall color can be seen just outside Rum Village park and spots throughout the South Bend area. Staff photo by Santiago Flores
Early fall color can be seen just outside Rum Village park and spots throughout the South Bend area. Staff photo by Santiago Flores
It could be an early sign of autumn: leaves already beginning to change color and even drop from trees.

Or it could be caused by a fungus called anthraxnose that was brought on by the heavy rains in May or the drought that followed in the summer, said John Seifert, state forester for Indiana Department of Natural Resources. “Anthraxnose can cause lots of discoloration and drought can push things along quicker,” he said.

Rosie Lerner, an extension consumer horticulture specialist at Purdue University, agreed that the shortage of rain and the period of high heat this summer is probably the reason some trees and shrubs are turning, rather than being some sort of harbinger of an early autumn.

“Sometimes all of these factors have a cumulative effect on forests,” said Seifert.
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