Lianna Bishop from the Urban Ecology Center tells us that Fall is a season known for trees full of beautiful shades of reds, oranges and yellows. But, you may be wondering, why do leaves change color in the fall? Do trees change to the same color every year? Our team here at the Urban Ecology Center have been thinking a lot about fall foliage lately. One of our Environmental Educators, Matt Flower, helped fill us in!
The brilliant colors of fall happen when the production of chlorophyll, the green pigment in plants associated with photosynthesis, slows down. As the days get shorter and the nights grow longer, the leaves’ true yellow, red or orange color is exposed.
Weather can also affect the way these colors look during their fall show. The best leaf colors seem to occur after warm, clear days with cool (but not freezing) nights – just like the type of weather we’ve been having lately. No wonder the trees have been so stunning!
Matt helped identify each tree and its respective color: Silver Maples are a light yellow, Green Ash a glowing purple, Shagbark Hickory a golden yellow and Sugar Maple a red-orange. Try picking out your favorite tree near your home, work, or school and watch its colors change over time.
As the days grow shorter and cooler, we hope you’ll get outside and enjoy nature’s multicolored farewell to the season.