Arguably, the autumn months foster one of the most enjoyable seasons of each calendar year. The cooler, more comfortable temperatures that accompany it are often a welcome relief to the heat and humidity Austin, and many other parts of the country, experience. That relief also presents itself in the form of rainfall. Many areas within Texas, including Austin, are often subjected to intense southern heat and very little precipitation to counter the negative effects of such. As summer’s heat and, sometimes, drought conditions persist, some may be left wondering about the impending autumn.

Part of autumn’s glory is the foliage that crowns hillsides, mountaintops and valleys. Without this annual occurrence, the anticipation of the season is greatly diminished. So, is there good reason to wonder what may be in store in the fall when a harsh summer precedes it?

Indeed summer’s heat can impact the turning of a tree’s leaves. Persistently hot temperatures may cause undue stress on the leaves. If this occurs, the leaves may begin to wilt prematurely. Although some color typical of autumn may be seen during this process, it is frequently short-lived and sometimes not seen at all. Depending upon how long the excessive temperatures have lingered, leaves may be unable to withstand them after a point. Once this threshold has been reached, the results typically are wilting and die-off of the leaves, and abounding feelings of chagrin from fall enthusiasts.

Heat is not the only component of summer that has the potential to negatively affect fall, however. Another similar key component is lack of rainfall. Much like the oppressive southern heat, lack of precipitation is also believed to have the capacity to stunt a wondrous autumn display. Insufficient rainfall, and especially a resulting drought, is a stressor for a tree. When rainfall is unavailable, so is a vital part of the tree’s sustenance. The ability to self-sustain may become compromised, and the effects of this are sometimes most evident by the duration of the foliage at the onset of fall.

Additionally, sometimes trees’ extremities are quite vulnerable during a season of limited or no rain. Much like any other living creature, it is a tree’s extremities that are the last to receive nourishment and, quite logically, the first to suffer for it. Already weakened branches are more susceptible to the effects of high winds or heavy rains, should a period of drought come abruptly to an end. If any limb causes you alarm, or if you’re uncertain as to its steadfastness, contact an Austin tree trimming expert for assistance.

Perhaps the best indicators of an enjoyable autumn are a warm and wet spring, which ultimately promotes healthy leaves, and a temperate summer with adequate rainfall, which helps to maintain the health of the leaves as the seasons shift from spring to summer. Another reputable indicator of a colorful autumn spectacle is an Indian summer. This is those pleasantly cool, crisp nights followed by pleasantly warm, sunny days, quite the typical fall weather pattern.

Contact an Austin tree care professional if you have specific questions or concerns about your landscaping trees, their overall health or how their foliage will be impacted by summer weather conditions.

About the Author: Andrew Johnson is the owner of Central Texas Tree Care, a leading provider of Austin tree service in Central Texas. Certified ISA Austin arborist services including: tree trimming, tree removal, tree care and oak wilt treatment. For more information on Austin tree service, please visit

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