Why Do Leaves Change Color?

Why Do Leaves Change Color?

The autumn season is arguably one of the most beautiful seasons in the north-east. The changing of fall foliage (leaves color) never fails to amaze and delight us.  The brilliance of color is in direct connection to the weather conditions that occur before and during the time the chlorophyll (which gives plants their green color) in the leaves is dwindling. The temperature and moisture are the main influences.

With shorter days and colder nights, trees will rest and live off the food they’ve stored during the summer time. As they begin to shut down the “food making factories” in their leaves, chlorophyll disappears and we start to see new color in the leaves. Depending on the tree species we’ll see different colors. Here are a few examples of species to color:

  • Maple – Orange-red
  • Oaks – Red, Brown
  • Aspen – Golden Yellow
  • Dogwood – Purplish Red
  • Beech – light tan
  • Sourwood – Crimson

A small amount of these colors have actually been in the leaves all along. It is the combination of all of these factors that contribute to the beautiful fall foliage we enjoy every year.