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Fungus, insects may dull some of Mo.'s fall foliage

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Mo. Dept. of Conservation
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By Marshall Griffin, St. Louis Public Radio

Jefferson City, Mo. – Some of Missouri's fall foliage could be affected by fungus and insects, though state officials say it's too early to predict a bland season overall.

White Oak trees in central Missouri, particularly from Springfield to Rolla to Jefferson City, were hit hard by a tree fungus and by a bug named Jumping Oak Gall. Justine Gartner with the Department of Conservation says the two resulted in turning leaves from White Oaks brown during the summer.

"The trees themselves are healthy, I don't expect any problem with them next year," Gartner said. "The fall colors, since the leaves are already looking kind of poor, for that particular tree, is not gonna be as bright as it's been in past years."

But Gartner says other factors will determine whether Missouri's fall foliage is an overall boom or bust: Primarily, a great contrast between morning low and afternoon high temperatures.

"Really, whether or not it'll be that awesome bang-up season of fall color just will depend on (the) weather in the next week or two or three," Gartner said. "Sharp contract between day and night temperatures is really what you need for those bright fall colors."

Drought conditions may also result in dull foliage in the southeast corner of the state. Meanwhile, Gartner says a wet October could also have a negative impact, as a lot of rain could bring leaves down early and leave trees barren.

More information can be found on The Department of Conservation's website: mdc.mo.gov.

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