I simply love when fall comes and the leaves all change colors. Something this year seems to be taking just a bit longer. If you live in a part of the world where nature throws a party before winter and brings out beautiful colors then to me you are lucky indeed. The shortened days and cooler temperatures helps to say goodbye to summer green foliage and welcomes autumns reds, oranges, golds, and browns. This is before the trees shed their leaves.
I love the Dolly Parton song "Gods Coloring Book" that talks about the beauty that is provided in the world. To me a crisp fall day demonstrates God's love for sure. Trees and shrubs changing their color is not totally understood. It is known that three factors determine the coloring pattern. These factors are length of night, type of autumn weather and type of leaf.
As in all color palette's pigments are needed. Pigments are also needed to increase autumn color.
Sumac trees contain chlorophyll. Photosynthesis depends on it and the chemical reaction that enables plants to use sunlight to create food. Trees store these sugars for winter during the dormant time. Carotenoids is another product present in the trees leaves. Carotenoids produce colors of yellow, orange, and brown colors. Carotenoids are present in corn, carrots, daffodils, rutabagas, buttercups and bananas.
The watery liquid of leaf cells known as Anthocyanins offers color to cranberries, red apples, concord grapes, blueberries, cherries, and plums.
Chlorophyll and carotenoids are both present in leaves through out growing season thus the green color of the leaf. The night get longer and Chlorophyll starts to produce slower and then eventually stops. The anthocyanins are produced in the autumn when the bright light and excess plant sugars within the cells of the leaf. After the chlorophyll stops being produced the carotenoids and anthocyanins are unmasked and the color appears.
Oak trees will turn red and brown. Hickories will have a beautiful golden bronze and yellow leaf color. Poplar trees will turn golden yellow. Dogwood trees will have a purplish tint of red. Maple trees are more determined by their species and are often red to orange to beautiful yellow.
The colors and their boldness are never the same. It is as though God does color each season by himself creating special touches. Temperature and moisture are the main influences of how leaves change. Warm sunny days with cool nights will offer a spectacular color leaf show. If the year provides us with a late spring or a severe summer drought the colors of the leaves will be slow coming. A warm fall will not offer such beauty either. The best colors will come from a wet spring, good summer weather and sunny fall days with cool nights
As the nights of autumn get longer one should notice the veins of the trees to close off. The clogged veins will trap sugars and as the separation continues the leaf will get ready to change color and fall.
Look for colored leaves in parks and forests. Cities, countryside and mountains all with deciduous trees will offer beauty. Oaks, maples, beeches, sweet gums, yellow poplars, dogwoods, hickories and other trees as well. New England is popular for its autumn colors. The Appalachian, Smoky, and Rocky Mountains all are pegged with color as well. The beautiful colors can be seen in the East and west as well. There are 31 states that offer more than 3,000 miles of beautiful leaves So take a colorful drive and view all the wondrous colors. Like I said earlier we have yet to see the beauty to come to life but normally the leaves change around late September through November.
helpful resource here