As residents of the White Mountains area expect to see trees changing from green to red in the coming month, they may only see black leaves.
Plant Pathologist James Jacobs has identified a fungal disease in the White Mountains that may affect aspen trees, he says.
However, there are plenty of unaffected trees that are already changing from green to gold.
In the Southwest areas of the White Mountains, Jacobs says that certain aspen trees will appear brown due to a blight infection and defoliation by western tent caterpillars earlier this year.
If weather conditions remain favorable for disease development like early 2015, Jacobs says, the infection could become more noticeable, causing early leaf loss and de-colorization.
In many aspen stands in the Southwest, the trees are infected with Marssonina leaf spots, blights and cottonwood.
Jacobs said that while the effects of the disease can be dramatic, it should not significantly damage growth or mortality.