Pines and other conifers in northern Minnesota are dying in slightly larger numbers than usual.
The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources says the trees have been stricken by drought. Eight of the last 11 summer and fall seasons have been very dry in northern Minnesota.
People may notice trees changing colors, said Jana Albers, a forest health specialist for the DNR in Grand Rapids.
"That's the thing with conifers when they die during the growing season," Albers said. "They turn that bright red-orange. And it's very noticeable, versus a hardwood tree just drops all its leaves and you don't notice it."
The good news is that this year's spring and early summer weather has been good for tree growth, Albers said.
The growing season has changed in northern Minnesota, she added. It's now a month longer, but rain totals haven't kept up.
There are also more intense bouts of rain, she said.
"We're not getting those long, many days of soaker rains, just gentle rains where it would be two or three days of rain and then the system would move off," Albers said. "What we're having now is these more intense storms that are coming through. They're very spotty in terms of where they put the rain and also how much they put and the speed with which they put it down. Short bursts of a lot of rain if you're on a hill or something like that, and it doesn't percolate into the soils."