As fall continues to set in, nature is painting a beautiful picture outdoors. Hues of orange, red and yellow are transforming the once green landscape into the Midwest autumn we all love. Have you ever wondered why the leaves change color? How do they go from green to the famous shades of fall?
The leaves donning trees during the summer season are actually in “hiding.” Trees naturally have leaves in shades of orange and yellow, which get overpowered by chlorophyll production. During the summer months, when the days are long and nights short, trees receive an abundant supply of sunlight necessary to produce green chlorophyll. The production of chlorophyll overpowers the tree’s natural shade and produces a vibrant green.
When autumn sets in, however, the days grow shorter and nights longer. The longer evenings mean less daylight, which decreases the amount of chlorophyll production. In tandem with chlorophyll reduction, sugar concentrations increase and cause an uptick in anthocyanin production. Curious what anthocyanin is? It is responsible for the rich red of cranberries, deep navy of blueberries and rich purple of concord grapes. The red, purple and blue pigments of anthocyanin pigments depend on pH levels. The increased anthocyanin production eventually overpowers the chlorophyll and changes the leaf color from green to various shades of fall.
Have questions about your changing fall landscape? We’d love to hear from you – call us at 515.987.0800 or drop us a note at [email protected].