In Partnership with the Southern Weekend

How and Why leaves change color

Find out why leaves change from green to yellow and red in Autumn.

The fall season is upon us which means the temperature is cooling down and the leaves are changing color. While you are outside enjoying a warm drink or taking a walk in the park, have you ever thought why leaves change color? You see the red, orange and yellow leaves in the trees but how do they change to those colors during the autumn season? In the video above, First Alert Meteorologist Jessica Moore explains why and how the leaves change color during the fall season.

How and why leaves change color

During the fall season, the leaves are changing into beautiful colors because a chemical process is taking place. The process starts with photosynthesis. The leaves produce most of there food and stay green from spring and summer into fall. The food making process that takes place in the leaves and keeps the leaves green is called chlorophyll. This chemical absorbs sunlight transforming carbon dioxide and water to sugars and starches. The vibrant colors in the leaves are always there but are masked by the great amounts of chlorophyll yearly.

The temperature has a lot to do of why the leaves go from green to yellow, red, and orange. As the temperature drops, there is less sunlight which means the leaves can’t produce much chlorophyll (see picture below). The chlorophyll, or food source, breaks down which makes the leaves less green and more colorful. When the fall season comes and goes into winter, the leaves will go from really colorful to wilting away and falling off the trees. This happens because there a special layer of cells developing and gradually severs the tissue that supports the leaf. The trees then seals off the food source to the leaf and eventually fall off or blow away.

how and why leaves change color

In the Ark-La-Tex, the fall and winter seasons are short and mild. These seasons do not last long and most of the tress keep their leaves and stay green. If there is a lot rain or overcast days that tends to increase the likelihood of the leaves intensity of color. The Ark-La-Tex stays mostly dry so the more rain that comes the better. The best time to enjoy the fall colors is on a bright sunny day where the temperature is not freezing nor hot. Click here to see when the fall foliage will be here the most in the Ark-La-Tex. Happy Fall!


While you’re out enjoying the beautiful colors of leaves, check out our Fall Festival Guide!

The Fall Festival Guide for the Ark-La-Tex