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Ready for fall colors? Lower your expectations

The Minnesota DNR predicts that the drought will likely lead to more dull colors among the changing leaves this season.

ST PAUL, Minn. — It's one of the best parts of a Minnesota fall: Admiring the changing leaves. But this year's drought will likely put a damper on those usually vibrant fall colors. 

Here's how the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources explains it:

"A severe drought such as the one we've experienced usually dulls colors and causes premature leaf shedding. The lack of water reaching the canopy results in reduced sugar production, so leaves release more carbon dioxide. The stress means both the chlorophyll and carotenoids break down. Minnesota's landscape likely will be filled with more subtle colors of tan, bronze and auburn."

But all hope is not lost. Jennifer Teegarden, Cooperative Forest Management Outreach Specialist with the DNR's Division of Forestry, suggests heading to southeast Minnesota during peak colors.

"That's where we've had the least amount of moisture stress," Teegarden said.

Teegarden also recommends trying something new and heading west to the state's prairie lands.

"Because the perennial plants are able to rebound quicker with this new moisture we've gotten with the rain," she said. 

You can find the DNR's fall color map here.

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