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Fall Foliage: Why do leaves change colors?

The chemical reactions that changes leaves from ordinary to extraordinary!

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — Every autumn ordinary leaves turn extraordinary. This is not done through magic, but with science! The shift in seasons causes a chemical process to take place that brings us a mixture of red, purple, yellow, and orange.

Just like these fall leaves surrounding Golden Retriever, Goose! 

In spring and summer months leaves make food for the tree. Occurring in the cells that contain chlorophyll. Chlorophyll is the chemical that gives trees that green color. 

This does not mean that the other colors are not in the leaves, it just means that the overwhelming amounts of chlorophyll in the leaves masks the other colors. 

When we transition seasons from summer to fall, the change in temperatures and amount of sunlight cuts off the food making process from the leaves to the tree. That means that chlorophyll breaks down, the greens fade away, and other colors become visible!

Credit: 13 On Your Side

The best weather for this transition are summer days and cool, but above freezing, nights. 

Here in West Michigan, you can expect these colors to near peak within the next two weeks. With the peak of the season yet to come, we already have plenty for leaf peppers to check out. 

If you have fall foliage to share, text 616- 559-1310 or #UpWith13 so that we can share them with all of West Michigan! 

Fall is in the air and the leaves in some places will be changing soon. Where is the best place to see all the beautiful...

Posted by 13 On Your Side on Monday, September 21, 2020

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