East Texas agriculture experts warn of 'false fall'

Updated: Aug. 1, 2018 at 6:11 PM CDT
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LUFKIN, TX (KTRE) - It may be more than halfway through summer, but some agriculture specialists say that here in East Texas, we'll be getting an early look at fall. However, that only applies to trees.

"Late July, early August is a time when I just assume that these trees are going to still have a lot of life in the leaves and that kind of thing," said Gary Hunter, a homeowner.

That's why Hunter said he started to worry when his yard was suddenly covered with a layer of dead leaves.

People, including Hunter, turn to the Texas A&M Agrilife Extension agents for answers. The cause seems to be drought.

"These trees need a lot of water," said Carey Simms, a Texas A&M Agrilife extension agent. "We're seeing a lot of trees, especially our oaks, dropping leaves, dropping them prematurely to preserve in this time of drought."

Lawn care service owner Matt Railey confirmed that his men have been picking up more leaves than normal.

"This year has been a little dryer, so we're already getting leaves falling in some of the yards with some of the trees getting stressed out," Railey said.

To keep your lawn care bill low, agriculture experts suggest watering your trees.

"We want to put that water hose out there a few feet from the tree trunk and let that water barely dribble out for hours until it really waters deep," Simms said.

Hunter said he'll be busy working on some of Simm's other suggestions.

"Clearing away some of the vegetation that surrounds the tree, so that the water is able to kind of seep into the ground a little bit," Hunter said.

The agents with the Texas A&M Agrilife Extension also advise that dried up leaves that stay on trees usually point to a dying tree.

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