Why do leaves change color in the Fall?

Garden Tips

In fall, we can expect our landscape to be filled with a myriad of colors as trees and shrubs go dormant. You can expect to see yellow, purples, oranges, and reds during the transition to winter.

Deciduous trees and shrubs will lose their leaves in the winter. During the summer, the green chlorophyll pigment is what you see, and it’s what’s most responsible for photosynthesis. However, as the temperatures fall and the days get shorter, the chlorophyll will break down, and photosynthesis will stop, ultimately revealing other pigments in the leaves.

Yellow, orange, and brown have always been there but were hidden by the chlorophyll. Red pigment, however, is produced in the fall and may be more intense when experiencing a mild, wet fall season.

You may be used to certain trees, like maples, having great fall color before the entire tree goes naked for the winter, but many evergreens also have fall color? Even though they keep their foliage in the winter, some evergreens, like azaleas and hollies, will lose their older inside needles, making them shed and transition into the winter.

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