Reason Behind Leaves Change Color in the Fall

Reason Behind Leaves Change Color in the Fall

Even if you live in a very tropical climate, where summer is your only season, you still can not help but admire the splendor of a colorful autumn. What is behind this annual event? Why do the leaves change their color every autumn, and why are some years brighter than others?

To understand that every autumn you are involved in the transformation of the sea of fresh greenery into a kaleidoscope of red, orange, yellow and all the shades, you should know two important points. The time of leaf color change is mainly influenced by the calendar, and the intensity depends on three main factors: the color pigments, the duration of the night and the weather.

First, the pigments. There are three most responsible for the color of the leaves. Most of us are familiar with the first one – chlorophyll. You know that somehow it has to do with providing a basic green color for leaves and grass. This is necessary for photosynthesis, a chemical process that allows plants of all sizes to use sunlight to produce food.

In the heat season, when the plants are actively growing, the pigment chlorophyll dominates the color that we see in the leaves. However, at this stage there is another pigment – carotenoids. They create yellow, orange and brown tones. However, since chlorophyll is as important as a pigment, carotenoid pigments begin to appear only in the fall, when the photosynthesis process stops. Finally, the process of photosynthesis stops and all chlorophyll is depleted, which completely eliminates the greenness of some leaves and allows the concentration of carotenoid pigments.

The third pigment, anthocyanins, is present in the leaves only in autumn. On hot autumn days, a lot of sugar is formed in the leaves. But as the days get shorter and the nights get colder, excess sugar is left in the leaves, as the veins that go in and out of the leaves gradually close. The combination of bright light and the sugar contained in it stimulates the production of anthocyanin pigments. They create bright shades of red and purple and a lot of intermediate shades.

The next factor that affects the color of autumn leaves is longer nights. The days are getting shorter, reducing the amount of sunlight available for the photosynthesis of plants. Thus, nature signals to plants that winter is approaching. Energy begins to be concentrated from food production and energy to storage and reserves. Since the photosynthesis process slows down in response to a shortened duration of the day, the production of chlorophyll also slows down. In the absence of the dominant green pigment, carotenoid and anthocyanin pigments brighten the autumn landscape.

The third most important factor determining the intensity of the autumn color is the weather. The brightest autumn images are the result of a hot and humid spring, a mild summer, sunny autumn days and cool nights, but above zero. If this combination is combined, the result will be the brightest color effect.

So, if you think about the splendor of the colors of this season, I hope that you were rewarded with extraordinary views. And next spring, when it’s hot and humid, be happy. This could be the prerequisite for an exciting autumn!


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