What makes fall color shine?

By Bernheim

Each autumn, we revel in the beauty of seasonal color.

As the weather turns cooler, the trees will once again put on their show of brightly colored leaves. The mixture of red, purple, orange and yellow is the result of chemical processes taking place inside the tree as the seasons change. But what are the determining factors that promote more intense colors?

While some assume wet summers produce brilliant foliage, rain does not determine leaf coloration. In fact, rainfall can be detrimental to fall leaves, as heavy rain and high winds can knock leaves from trees before they have a chance to turn.

The best weather for vivid foliage include sunny, dry autumn days, partnered with long, cool –yet frostless – autumn nights.

During summer, trees produce chlorophyll, which gives leaves their green color and allows the tree to make food from sunlight. As the amount of daylight decreases in autumn, chlorophyll production also decreases and leaves lose their green. Without it, other colors that are already present in the leaves take center stage.

Sit back and enjoy the show! Peak fall color is expected the first week of November.

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