Why do leaves change color during autumn?

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Peak fall colors occur on average during late October.

 

 

 

As we begin the month of October, you probably noticed one the first signs of the change of seasons--- the beautiful fall colors.

 

But what causes the leaves to change?

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Here's a glance at the Fall Foliage Report for this week.

It all comes down to the food making process of trees. Plants create their own food to use as energy through a process called photosynthesis. A chemical called chlorophyll, which gives plants their green color, is used along with sunlight, carbon dioxide, and water to create food. As daylight shortens, plants cannot create enough energy through photosynthesis. The trees use up stored food from the summer, and chlorophyll begins to disappear from the trees. Since the chlorophyll is green, this means the green fades too. The yellow, orange, and red pigments you see through autumn are present in tiny amounts beginning in spring, but the green from the chlorophyll overshadows them. Once the green disappears, these fall colors become more prominent.

And since Pennsylvania has so many forests and parks, many people love to view these fall colors in all of their beauty. Have the camera ready for more color to come in the weeks ahead!

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