The Facts About Fall Colour
Many think that summer is the best time to take a road trip, however fall road trips are great opportunities to go outside and see the brilliant display of fall colours. Fall is my favourite time of year!
Do you ever wonder why the leaves change colour every fall? In the summer, chlorophyll fills both evergreen and deciduous leaves, making them green in colour. When fall approaches, the shorter days and cooler temperatures trigger deciduous trees to stop chlorophyll production to get ready to shed their leaves for winter.
As the green chlorophyll drains out of the leaves, there are leftover red, yellow and orange pigments present in the leaves which begin to show. It is these three “leftover” pigments that create the variety of fall colours.
Here are 5 other fun facts about fall colour:
Bright sunlight is essential for the production of the red (anthocyanin) pigment in the fall leaves: if a black mask is placed on part of a leaf before it changes colour, the parts under the mask will turn yellow, while the exposed part will turn red. This explains why some leaves have a mix of yellow and red, the yellower parts of the leaf were under more shade as they changed colour.
Summer drought can delay the changing of fall colours. The lack of moisture available in the summer means the trees are unable to make enough energy to store over the winter. They hold onto their leaves for a few more weeks in the fall to catch up and fill their reserves.
Leaves have just as much yellow pigment (xanthophyll) in July when they are green as they do in October when they are yellow. In July the darker green pigment (chlorophyll) masks the yellow colour.
Fallen leaves are essential for the forest. When they fall to the ground, they create a damp, organic-rich and secure environment for tree seed germination of tree seeds. They decompose, returning nutrients back into the soil for both old and new trees to reuse.
The Facts About Fall Colour!
Tree colour change can be witnessed all around the world but nothing compares in variety and intensity as what we experience in North America. To see this phenomenon locally, you can check out many of Toronto’s local natural areas including Rouge Park, the Toronto Islands and High Park.
Grab your camera, get outdoors and go enjoy the wonderful colours of fall!
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