Why do leaves change colors?
The fall season is a time of year when the leaves on trees change from their usual shades of green to a variety of other colors, such as yellow, orange, and red. This phenomenon, known as leaf color change, is caused by a combination of factors, including changes in temperature and daylight, as well as the presence of certain pigments in the leaves.
One of the main factors that causes leaves to change color is the decrease in daylight hours that occurs as the autumn season progresses. As the days get shorter, the trees begin to respond by slowing down the production of chlorophyll, the pigment that gives leaves their green color. As the chlorophyll breaks down, other pigments in the leaves, such as carotenoids and anthocyanins, are revealed. Carotenoids give leaves a yellow or orange color, while anthocyanins are responsible for the red and purple hues.
Another factor that contributes to leaf color change is the changing temperatures of the autumn season. As the weather gets cooler, the trees begin to shut down their systems in preparation for winter. This process causes the tree to stop producing chlorophyll and other pigments, which also contributes to the change in leaf color.
Additionally, the presence of certain pigments in the leaves can also affect the color change. For example, in some species of trees, such as sugar maples, the pigments that give the leaves their red color are present all year round, but are hidden by the chlorophyll during the spring and summer months. As the chlorophyll breaks down in the fall, these pigments are revealed, giving the leaves their characteristic red color.
The beautiful leaf color change we observe in the fall is caused by a combination of factors, including changes in temperature and daylight, as well as the presence of certain pigments in the leaves. Next time you enjoy the fall foliage, take a moment to appreciate the science behind this wonderful natural phenomenon.
Another interesting tid bit here: Dead leafs are important to the ongoing health of the tree. Leafs are made up of tiny factories which produce sugars for the tree through varity of chemical/nutrient reactions! When we fertilize trees it is sent to the little factories, and in the fall alot of the urban leafs don't make it back to the soil...casuing a nutrient drain over time. This is why mulching is impotant...and deep root fertilizing with Colorado Premier Tree Care.
AHH the cycle of life at it's finest!