About us: We own the Wild Birds Unlimited nature shop in East Lansing, Michigan,
a store that provides a wide variety of supplies to help you enjoy the birdwatching hobby.

This blog was created to answer frequently asked questions & to share nature stories and photographs.
To contribute, email me at bloubird@gmail.com.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Mother Nature Puts on Her Fall Wardrobe



Pull out your favorite sweater and get ready for the annual show of colors. Pretty soon the leaves of our deciduous trees will be cast off, as they go through a chemical processes that will also treat us to the season’s most vibrant colors.

As Michigan gets fewer hours of sun, trees respond by slowing and eventually stopping the production of chlorophyll. This is a green pigment vital to photosynthesis, the process that enables plants to manufacture their own food. As the chlorophyll breaks down and the green color dissipates, the yellow and orange pigments, carotene and xanthophyll become visible.

Every autumn the trees also begin to synthesize anthocyanin to protect leaves from sun damage, lower their freezing point, allow them to remain on the tree longer, and buy the tree more time to recover nutrients from it leaves. Sunny days and cool nights favor anthocyanin production which creates bright red leaves.

There's no better place than Michigan to see the dynamic colors of a trillion trees aflame. Michigan.org provides updates as the foliage changes and suggests color tours.

For a more detailed description of how leaves change color go to: http://www.na.fs.fed.us/fhp/pubs/leaves/leaves.shtm

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