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Why do leaves change color in the fall?

BingMag Explains why do leaves change color in the fall

Leaves change color in the fall due to a combination of factors, including changes in temperature and daylight hours. Here's a breakdown of the process:

1. Chlorophyll breakdown:

During the growing season, leaves are green due to chlorophyll, a pigment responsible for capturing sunlight and converting it into energy through photosynthesis. As days become shorter and temperatures drop in the fall, trees start to prepare for winter by breaking down chlorophyll and reabsorbing it back into the tree.

2. Unmasking other pigments:

As chlorophyll breaks down, other pigments that were masked by the green color become visible. These pigments include carotenoids (yellow, orange, and brown) and anthocyanins (red and purple). Carotenoids are present in leaves throughout the year but are overshadowed by the dominant green chlorophyll. Anthocyanins, on the other hand, are produced in the fall in response to certain environmental conditions, such as bright sunlight and cool temperatures.

3. Leaf senescence:

As the chlorophyll breaks down and other pigments are unmasked, the leaves enter a stage called senescence. During this process, the tree reabsorbs nutrients from the leaves and seals off the connection between the leaf and the branch. This causes the leaves to eventually fall off.

The specific colors and intensity of fall foliage can vary depending on tree species, weather conditions, and other factors.

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