Every year tens of thousands of people take trips to see the beauty of fall leaf color. These scenes are truly sights to behold. But what causes the leaves of trees to change from Green to the array of wonderful fall colors?
During the growing season, plants produce three distinct chemicals in their leaves that produce these pigments. Chlorophyll, Carotenoids, and Anthocyanins. Chlorophyll as we know is green, Carotenoids produce Yellow and orange tones and Anthocyanins red. As the season progresses, and the days get shorter the plants stop producing chlorophyll allowing the underlying colors of the other Chemicals shine through. What are the main factors that cause this color change? Well, the chemicals must be present within the leaves, Weather conditions, but mostly long nights and short days cause this change.

Sugar maples and Sumacs have high contents of both Anthocyanins and Carotenoids so they tend to have brilliant reds and oranges, while Aspens, Birches and Ginkgos have mostly Carotenoids for bright yellow coloration. Check out this site for more information on Fall leaf color and the science behind it: https://www.fs.usda.gov/…/fall…/science-of-fall-colors