Why Leaves Change Color
The brilliant fall color in our landscapes is a magical transformation that happens each year. And the science behind it all is just as intriguing.
Each fall as the days shorten our deciduous trees and shrubs begin this transformation. The plants produce less of the chlorophyll that gives leaves their normal green color. In fact, the chlorophyll starts breaking down revealing the underlying pigments of yellow, red or orange.
At the same time these plants begin to create an abscission layer between the leaf and stem. This barrier prevents the sugars produced in the leaves from moving down into the roots for storage. Warm sunny days followed by cool nights without a hard frost mean more sugar and better red, orange, and purple fall color.
Genetics determine the color each plant tends to produce in fall, while weather and the plant’s health influence if and how intensely the color will be expressed.
A bit more information: Examine any trees and shrubs that exhibit early fall color. This can be an outward signal that the plant is suffering from girdling roots, stem rot from deep planting, disease or severe drought. Contact a certified arborist for help diagnosing the cause and developing a plan of action.
Upcoming Live Events
Feb. 28, 2024
Create a Beautiful Landscape Free of Invasive Plants in Wisconsin Gardens
Feb. 29, 2024
How to Plan Your Rain Garden
March 6, 2024
Growing Summer Bulbs in Containers
March 13, 2024
Hydrangea Selection, Pruning & Care
March 14, 2024
How to Select Rain Garden Plants
March 20, 2024
Maximize the Beauty and Enjoyment
in Any Small Space
March 23, 2024
REALTORS Home & Garden Show
West Allis, WI
March 27, 2024
How to Start a Garden for Beginners
April 10, 2024
Container Gardening Throughout the Year
April 11, 2024
7 Steps to Managing Water Where it Falls in Your Yard
April 20, 2024
Pasquesi Home & Gardens
The Why and How of Pruning Hydrangeas and Other Shrubs
Lake Bluff, IL
WATCH ON-DEMAND WEBINARS