Watch for Fall Color

Welcome to the beginning of Fall, arriving now in our region.  In this view of the breaks along the Missouri River, deciduous trees and shrubs are beginning to change color. The thing is, this happens whether we notice or not.

Trees and shrubs that lose their leaves in preparation for winter, have leaves with green pigment that traps light so that along with air and water, plants make their food. Leaves of these trees change color as the amounts of their pigments change until leaves fall. 

As the light quality changes in Fall, the green pigment has diminished, and red or yellow pigments or red/yellow (orange) pigment in the leaves is what we see.  The red or yellow pigment helps the tree produce its last food before the leaves fall. This gray twig dogwood stand of shrubs, also along the river, have a reddish hue now and earlier were green.

If you notice how leaves change color, the pattern of color change differs among trees and shrubs. At this stage, the buckeye tree almost looks as if it has orange decorations on it now. Later the tree will turn orange.

Not all trees and shrubs of the same kind, change color at the same rate. While there are environmental differences among locations, there is a lot of variation in leaf color change. Here are two hackberry trees growing by each other; one changing and the other is green. 

There’s a lot to see as leaves change color! Thanks for your visit, today and always. Please comment if you wish.

3 thoughts on “Watch for Fall Color

  1. Autumn color is not appreciated near the coast of California, partly because it is not expected here. Most people here are not from here, and many are surprised that the weather can get cool enough for such color. Several species color well with just minimal chill.
    Anyway, are those Eastern redcedar in the first two pictures?

  2. I am sorry if I say this twice. My comment did not seem to go through.
    I mentioned that autumn color is not appreciated near the coast of California, likely because it is not expected. Several species develop good color with minimal chill here.
    Anyway, are those Eastern redcedar in the first two pictures?

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