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Leaves' Color Schemes

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Hey, Fall Folks!

Happy Take a Hike Day! Enjoy the day by participating in this invaluable pastime—hiking is a great way to appreciate those beautiful days that draw you to get out and breathe in that therapeutic, fresh autumn air. Walking trails are typically accessible in residential areas and, for those who live in more rural settings, perhaps you can just walk out your back door and see where it takes you! An absolutely explosive time of year, today is right at the perfect time of year!

The trees around our parts here in the northwestern area of Wisconsin have mostly all dropped their leaves and left a beautiful multicolored carpet over the earth. It’s beautiful when the trees’ leaves lose their green sheen; you can collect a regular bouquet with the colors of the rainbow. But why do they turn so many different colors as they die and fall?

Ready to Drop
Why do trees lose their leaves? Trees get the most energy when they’re exposed to warm, wet, and sunny weather. As we move toward winter, the air gets colder, dryer, and we see less sunlight. It would require a great deal of energy for trees to keep their leaves throughout such an unaccommodating time of year so deciduous trees drop their leaves as a tactic to survive the winter season.

Goodbye Green

That lively gloss of green summer leaves comes from basking in the long hours of daylight that the summer season offers. Trees’ process of obtaining energy through sunlight is photosynthesis. Through this process, trees produce chlorophyll which is a stark green in most trees. The green tends to cover up the other pigments that are present in the leaf…until the green goes away.

So Many Colors

Each leaf is different! Different trees have a different amount of pigments and chlorophyll that they deliver to their leaves and depending on what pigments a leaf has and how much green it’s lost. A leaf’s color depends entirely on the ratio of a leaf’s pigment and chlorophyll production. That explains how leaves in the fall are able to take on a handful of other colors.

Enjoy the cool colors of Autumn outside today by getting out on a woodsy trail and kicking through all the ones that have fallen. You can learn about the health benefits of hiking from a previous Blog post about Take a Hike Day—hop on over to it by clicking here. And, as always, thanks for reading, Fall Fans!


- John

Posted in Random Thoughts


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