Have you ever wondered why do leaves change color? If you happen to be in the New England area during the fall foliage, you will experience some of the most astounding colors of fall. The best time to view this autumn wonder is from mid- to late September through to October, depending on where you are located at the time in beautiful New England.
People oftentimes believe the change in the coloring of leaves are attributed to the drop in temperature; not so. So why do leaves change color? It seems that the change in the coloring of leaves has more to do with the sunshine and length of day rather than changes in temperature. This change in the color of leaves is called photosynthesis.
Think of photosynthesis as being a process in which specific steps occur inside the cells of the green plants which help to create the food plants need to grow and reproduce. Through the process of photosynthesis, plants are nourished and able to thrive. In order for this process to take place, plants require a certain amount of sunlight, water and carbon dioxide which in turn produces glucose (a type of sugar). Glucose is used by plants as food for energy and growth.
So to review, the way plants and trees turn water and carbon dioxide into sugar is called photosynthesis. The chemical called chlorophyll (found in the cells of green plants) helps to make photosynthesis happen and is what gives plants their green color.
Not all deciduous trees that shed their leaves at the end of the growing season turn vivid colors. Maple, aspen, oak and gum provide us with the most spectacular display of colors in the fall season. As the days grow shorter, there is less light. The lack of daylight triggers chemical changes within the plants causing them to shed their leaves.
The chemical changes which take place in the fall literally choke the leaves from receiving necessary nutrients to sustain life or from eliminating. Once the leaves are unable to sustain themselves, the stage is set for the leaves to turn from their green to the more stunning and intense colors of orange, yellow, red and brown.
The above explanation as to why leaves change colors is simplified; however, it does provide good insight and information.
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