Friday, October 12, 2012

Fall in Our Neighborhood

We are lucky to live in the eastern United States where the deciduous trees are a wonderful array of colors in the fall. Last weekend, Tom and I took a drive.  We discovered that the trees were close to fall color perfection.

Yesterday I walked around our neighborhood and took these photos. There was a brisk wind so leaves were falling. One really fierce storm and a lot more of them will fall. A couple fierce storms and the trees will be bare. I took a photo of this tree across the street but Tom took a better one so this is his photo

The yellow tree and the red Burning Bushes (Viburnum) are in another neighbor's yard.

This tree is yet another color.

I remembered a little about why leaves change colors from hearing naturalists talk about it. The Chlorophyll which gives the leaves their green color and is one of the key elements in the process of photosynthesis, the tree's food making process, breaks down in the fall, allowing other colors which have been in the leaf all along to show... the yellows, oranges, browns and reds. I also remembered that a layer forms between the leaf and the branch it is attached. When that layer is complete, the leaf falls.

I went to a couple websites to learn the technical terms again. Carotenoids produce the yellow, orange, and brown colors. Anthocyanins produce reds and purples. That layer that forms between the leaf and the branch is called the abscission or separation layer. Different trees  have different concentrations of the color producing chemicals.

Tulip Poplars (Liriodendron tulipfera) tend to have bright yellow leaves.

Sugar Maple (Acer saccharum) leaves turn orange-red.

1 comment:

  1. So beautiful :-) Our leaves are only just starting to turn, although it's very cold now!