There are many things to love about fall, from brisk air and pumpkin lattes to wearing jeans and watching football. However, the most steadfast and adored marker of autumn is the changing colors of the leaves. Brilliant oranges and pops of red paint our landscape as we enter into the winter months. While it is certainly okay to sit back and enjoy the scenery, have you ever asked yourself what causes the leaves to change color in the first place? It all boils down to photosynthesis.
Plants and trees need daylight and water to make food and survive. Therefore, as the days get shorter and autumn approaches, the trees know that they must prepare for winter – as the amount of sunlight and rain they are getting is diminishing.
During winter, photosynthesis must come to a halt, as there is just not enough light and water to facilitate the cycle and keep making food. The winter months become a time of rest or hibernation for the trees and they simply live off the stored food they made during the summer.
What does this have to do with the color of the leaves? Without photosynthesis, the there is no chlorophyll being produced to keep the leaves their vibrant green. Instead, we see reds, oranges and even purples. In many cases, these colors are there all along, but the green chlorophyll just covers them up during the summer and spring. Sometimes it is other substances left in the leaves that give off a fall color. For example, trapped glucose caused by the cessation of photosynthesis is what produces the bold red color of a Maple tree.
At Pannone’s Lawn Pros & Landscaping, we love educating our customers about the “science” behind a beautiful landscape. Our experts offer a full menu of lawn services, including yard cleanups for all that colorful but quickly falling foliage.