It’s that time of year when the temperature starts to drop, the leaves change color, and change is in the air. Fall is one our favorite seasons here at Bailey Park in Benton PA.
Activities like pumpkin picking, hiking, and decorating are all favorite pastimes of people throughout America.
Another fun and uniquely autumn activity is observing fall foliage throughout the U.S.
During the fall, each state in the U.S. will experience its own special view of the season. While many people associate the Northeast with the best foliage, there are plenty of places throughout the country with beautiful sites.
Changing ash, hickory, maple, and oak trees make for postcard-like views in almost every state.
Why Do Leaves Change Color in the Fall?
Why do leaves change color in the fall? When leaves appear green, it is because they contain an abundance of chlorophyll. There is so much chlorophyll in an active leaf that the green masks other pigment colors. Light regulates chlorophyll production, so as autumn days grow shorter, less chlorophyll is produced. The decomposition rate of chlorophyll remains constant, so the green color starts to fade from leaves.
At the same time, surging sugar concentrations cause increased production of anthocyanin pigments. Leaves containing primarily anthocyanins will appear red. Carotenoids are another class of pigments found in some leaves. Carotenoid production is not dependent on light, so levels aren’t diminished by shortened days. Carotenoids can be orange, yellow, or red, but most of these pigments found in leaves are yellow. Leaves with good amounts of both anthocyanins and carotenoids will appear orange.
Leaves with carotenoids but little or no anthocyanin will appear yellow. In the absence of these pigments, other plant chemicals also can affect leaf color. An example includes tannins, which are responsible for the brownish color of some oak leaves.
Temperature affects the rate of chemical reactions, including those in leaves, so it plays a part in leaf color. However, it’s mainly light levels that are responsible for fall foliage colors.
Sunny autumn days are needed for the brightest color displays, since anthocyanins require light. Overcast days will lead to more yellows and browns.
(By Anne Marie Helmenstine, Ph.D. for Thought.co)
Bailey Park in Benton PA has some beautiful foliage in the Fall.
Please try to get out and enjoy.