About this time every year trees begin to show their fall fashion. We notice the green leaves changing to hues of red, yellow, and brown. These colors are beautiful to see, but why does this happen?
When summer ends and the days become shorter, the green leaves of trees stop producing as much glucose through photosynthesis. These green leaves are the food production source for plants. When they cease producing more food than they take to maintain, the tree will close up food production for the season.
Trees for a different type of cell at the leaf base that cuts off the leaf from the tree and will eventually lead them to fall. The chlorophyll in the leaves die off since they are no longer needed. Yellows and oranges are present in the summer, but the green hue is so strong, that they are not noticed. As the green fades first, the yellow and orange hue begins to show.
Oak trees leave a brown leaf. This color comes from the waste that resides in the leaf after it has been cutoff from the source. Red leaves, like those in maple leaves, are caused by glucose being trapped in the leaves once the link has been severed.
Wet and humid days tend to lead to a better show of fall colors on large trees. If you are lucky enough to have some maples in your area, keep an eye out after rain storms for a wonderful bright red view.
Evergreen trees continue to produce energy even in the winter so they do not have a need of dropping their leaves. Some broad leaf plants in southern Louisiana will keep their leaves if the winter is mild enough.