One of the stress-relieving treats many Missourians enjoy at this time of year is a drive to see colorful foliage. But stressed trees could produce a limited amount of color this year in Northeast Missouri.

One of the stress-relieving treats many Missourians enjoy at this time of year is a drive to see colorful foliage. But stressed trees could produce a limited amount of color this year in Northeast Missouri.

During Wednesday's meeting of the Hannibal Tree Board, Kyle Monroe of the Missouri Department of Conservation, and a Tree Board advisor, said 2015 could be a disappointment to many diehard leaf peepers.

“A lot of trees are already turning brown,” he said before the meeting broke up. “We might have a short fall.”

Following the meeting, Monroe detailed what is necessary for vibrant fall colors.

“The conditions we need for a good fall are healthy trees that aren't stressed, good fall soil moisture, sunny days and cool nights. But without the soil moisture... That's a key component that we're lacking this year for fall,” he said.

The lack of recent moisture isn't the only factor that could put a damper on this year's fall colors.

“We had such a wet spring this year and a lot of moisture in the early summer. Whenever we have those conditions they favor tree diseases and other tree pests like insects. When trees are stressed, followed by late-summer drought, and lack of rain in the fall, along with the stress from those insects and diseases, trees just tend to go dormant quickly. They don't produce the vibrant colors that we are used to seeing,” said Monroe.

Monroe invites leaf watchers to get regular color updates at the Missouri Department of Conservation's website - http://mdc.mo.gov/discover-nature/outdoor-recreation/driving-tours/fall-colors .

As of Thursday, the scouting report for the Northeast Missouri region was that yellows were “becoming slightly deeper in elm, cottonwood, and walnut. Hickories and oaks still remain green throughout the region.”

The report also noted that “many trees seem to be losing leaves before they get a chance to change color.”

And while some regions of the state already have color “hot spots” listed on the website, none were as yet cited in the Northeast Region.