Two days into August and there is already a tree in Richfield that has begun changing colors, with many leaves lying dead on the ground as if they're begging for a rake to take them to their final resting place.
It's one thing to get a string of days featuring September-like temperatures after Minnesota's hot July, but for a tree to begin sprinting towards winter when the dog days of summer are just now arriving is a helluva troll job by nature.
I tweeted a picture of the tree and the responses so far are exactly what you'd expect from Minnesotans.
– "Get this trash off my timeline."
– "Even the f***ing trees want 2020 to be over."
– "Chop it down."
Walk by the tree and you will undoubtedly experience back pain from the snow-shoveling flashbacks you'll have. Another side effect of roaming past the tree is feeling the urge to go to a pumpkin patch and drink hot apple cider.
Sick, isn't it?
Leaves change color as a result of less daylight, which leads to leaves preparing for winter by making less chlorophyll. Those lush green leaves begin fading, turning into vibrant reds, yellows and oranges. Then snow falls and Minnesotans make hotdish for six consecutive months.
According to the state climatology office, the earliest documented snow in Minnesota happened August 31, 1949, when a trace of snow was recorded at the Duluth Airport. There isn't snow in the forecast anywhere in Minnesota, so either this tree is getting the early jump on winter prep or it's got something wrong with it.
According to Gardening Know How, a tree that is stressed can change colors earlier than usual.
"When your tree is so stressed from something in its environment that it starts to change colors, you’re witnessing a last stand of sorts. Your tree’s leaves start to change colors, even under normal conditions, due to a lack of chlorophyll. This can happen when the tree starts to prepare itself for winter, or it can happen when the tree or shrub perceives a threat to its well-being.
"Many biologists believe that an early color change is an attempt of a tree to rid itself of insect pests, especially those that feed on the juices in the cells. These insects have evolved with these trees and shrubs, and understand that when the chemical process behind the leaves changing color begins, their meal ticket ends. Rather than feeding on other leaves, many will move on in search of a better food source. In the case of tree leaves turning partially red too early, especially in maples, branch dieback is often to blame. Additionally, a nitrogen deficiency may be present."
Either way, it'd be great if the rest of the trees hold off on changing colors until grocery stores start pushing Halloween advertisements to the public, which won't be long now.