Fall on Mount Desert Island
Why Do Leaves Change Color in the Fall?
Each leaf of a deciduous tree (those that loose their leaves in the Fall) contain green, red, orange and yellow pigments. Throughout the summer, the green is dominant due to chlorophyll production. As sunlight hours decrease in the Fall, the green starts to disappear and the other pigments – red, orange, yellow, scarlet and purple – come alive!
Meanwhile the tree produces a waxy substance to protect itself from the elements once a leaf separates from the branch. That’s why leaves can withstand strong wind and rain during the summer, but come down so easily during a fall rainstorm.
When the days of autumn are sunny and cool, the nights chilly but not freezing, the brightest colorations usually develop. This is when the production of chlorophyll , which is created by sunlight during photosynthesis, slows down.