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Eye Opening Fact About Autumn

Why leaves change color, why are there so many acorns, what makes a leaf red

As you can imagine, here at The Gorge we love to geek out about our trees. With the excitement of the leaf season, we thought we would let you in on some fun fall facts about trees.

  1. Decreasing Daylight is the main factor in the leaves changing color.

  2. The fall color of leaves are always there; it is just the absence of chlorophyll that let’s their true colors shine.

  3. Leaves change color because they are essentially hungry. With the days getting shorter (and cooler) it is harder for
    the chlorophyll in the trees to produce food and the process shuts down for the season. The leaves start to use the food they have stored from the summer months.

  4. There are 3 pigments that give leaves their color: 1) Chlorophyll-green 2) Carotenoid-yellow, orange, and brown (think carotene-just like carrots) 3) Anthocyanin-red. The same stuff found in cherries and strawberries.

  5. Leaves turn brown because of Tannin. Yes… that stuff in tea.

  6. Fallen leaves are essential to the health of the forest’s ecosystem. They protect the tree seeds and allow them to germinate during the cold winter months.

  7. Acorn & seed production is based on carbon/nitrogen ratio and environmental stresses. A healthy year means less seeds and vice versa.

  8. Acorns are unique to species and have different characteristics, size, color, and even cup size.

Bonus: Rhododendron leaves can stay on a plant for up to six years and stay healthy and function...and of course green.

Good-bye Chlorophyll…see you in the spring!