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Unseasonably warm autumn weather meant many of the region’s deciduous trees put on a spectacular display of gold, orange and red over the past month.
However, the very dry conditions, mixed with bitterly cold weather and severe gales which have hit the region this week, was forcing many of the trees to shed their leaves, particularly in Dunedin, Botanic Garden geographic and arboretum collection curator Dylan Norfield said.
"We had all the perfect, nice, sunny days to have all the brilliant autumn colour this year, but because it’s been so dry, the leaves are all dropping quickly and not holding on to that autumn colour.
"There are some species that could hold out a bit longer, but most of them should be clear by the end of the month.
"But if this cold and windy weather continues, it could be over and done with by the end of this week," he said. "Then we can clean up the leaves quicker."