Fall Colors - Why do Leaves Change Color?

The first leaves are starting to turn here in the mountains. I grew up in New England where the fall colors are truly like fireworks across the hillside, but I have come to appreciate the golds of the Aspens out here in Colorado as well.

So how does this all work? Here is some fun info to share with your kiddos as the leaves start to turn this fall!


First of all - did you know that the orange and yellow colors that pop in the fall are always present in leaves? Me either. The reason that leaves are green in the spring and summer is because of our good friend, chlorophyll.

During the spring and summer, chlorophyll gives leaves their bright green hue. Chlorophyll is the pigment that allows the plants to create energy from the sunlight.


As the days grow shorter and the trees receive less light, a corky substance forms between the leaf and the branch which slowly seals off the leaf from the tree. This means that nutrients and water from the tree can't get into the leaf. As this happens, the chlorophyll breaks down and the underlying colors show through! The reds that we see are produced as the chlorophyll breaks down and sugars are trapped in the leaves.


Pretty cool, right? I LOVE autumn...cool, dry, and cozy. The heat of the summer has passed and we aren't yet trudging through the snow every day :) I hope you are able to enjoy some fall foliage where you live (or wherever your travels take you!).


Stay Wild and Free!


Michelle


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