Thursday, October 20, 2011

Naturalist Corner: Fall Colors



Why do leaves change color in the fall?
Leaves are “food factories” where the plants energy is produced. Plants take in sunlight and produce their own energy through the process of photosynthesis where they take in carbon dioxide and produce oxygen and glucose. As the days get shorter in the Fall and Winter there is in turn less sunlight available to fuel this process. As the Trees begin to prepare for the winter they stop producing chlorophyll (a green pigment involved in photosynthesis). In turn the underlying pigments shades of yellow and orange colors begin to appear.

What conditions produce the brightest fall leaf colors?
A mild wet spring, average rainfall in the summer, warm sunny fall days with cool nights normally produce the most vivid autumn colors.

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