Why do leaves change color?
As the season changes from summer to winter, fall arrives and leaves lose their normal, green color. Leaves change color due to chemicals in the leaves themselves, as well as the amount of daylight and temperature to which the leaves are exposed.
Leaves are Green
Leaves are green during the spring and summer because they are collecting food for the tree. The cells in the leaf contain chlorophyll, which is what absorbs energy from sunlight to convert carbon dioxide and water to carbohydrates like sugars and starch. Alongside the green pigments, leaves actually have yellow and orange pigments. Most of the year, the orange and yellow colors are masked by the larger amount of green pigment. However, in fall the leaves change color due to the lack of green pigment
Leaves are Yellow, Orange, and Red
In the fall, daylight is shorter and the temperature changes. This causes leaves to stop making food for the tree and the chlorophyll within the leaf breaks down. With this breakdown of chlorophyll, the yellow and orange pigments within the leaf get their chance to shine. Other chemical changes in leaves and certain species of trees can cause leaves to turn colors such as red or brown, though not all trees experience such a dramatic change. The weather of a particular year also affects the intensity of colors in leaves that undergo changes.
As well as changing colors, leaves develop certain cells where the stem is attached to the tree. These cells gradually sever tissues that support the leaf, causing it to fall
Of course, not all trees lose their leaves in the fall. Evergreen trees, such as spruces or firs, keep their needle or scale-like leaves for a long time. It is deciduous trees that undergo the chemical changes that cause colors to change and provide fall its splendor.
Find out more
If you want to learn more about leaves and why they change colors, check out this website.
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