Why Do Leaves Change Color?
Ever wonder how the leaves know the time is right to put on a color show? Plants take water from the ground through their roots. Carbon dioxide comes from the air to nourish their leaves. In turn, they manufacture oxygen and glucose. This is called photosynthesis. A chemical called chlorophyll helps to make photosynthesis happen. Chlorophyll makes the leaves green in the spring and summer. Orange and yellow actually exist all season long, but the chlorophyll makes them invisible. As the days get shorter, the sun shines for fewer hours each day. This process signals the tree that it is time to prepare for winter. It knows there will be less water and sunlight available for growth. The chlorophyll fades away so that the orange and yellow can finally be seen.
Maple Trees Really Show Off in the Fall
Maple trees turn red, not yellow or orange. Their vivid color comes from food that has gotten trapped in the leaves. Other trees, in particular oaks, just turn brown and this is from waste that occurs in the leaves all the time, but the chlorophyll masks the color.
This Year, Leaves Are Really Bright
We had a brief cold snap in September. Fall has been mild with no storms to knock the leaves down which has produced some really fabulous foliage displays this year. I recently traveled to central Ohio to visit friends and the leaves there blaze with color!
Maybe this upcoming weekend would be a terrific time for a leisurely trip to Skyline Drive.