Digital Exclusive: The science behind Fall Foliage

Digital Exclusive


When the weather gets cooler and days get shorter, we transition into a season that is always full of marvelous pictures thanks to the leaves changing color and Fall foliage occurring.

The different colors are a result of a process occurring within a tree whenever we change seasons from Summer and to Fall.

The reason leaves have a green color in the Summer is due to the cells of the tree containing chlorophyll.

This chemical is the engine for the tree leaves and turns the sunlight’s energy to sugars and food needed for them.

Once we usher into Fall, the leaves stop making sugars resulting in the chlorophyll breaking down and making the green color disappear.

This allows other colors like oranges, yellows, and reds that have been masked by the dominating green color of the chlorophyll to be seen. 

Of course, weather plays a prominent role in this process.

The temperature will impact the number of colors you see in leafy trees, as will an early frost limiting the amount of foliage in an area.

Rain or overcast skies will make the fall color more intense. 

Send in your Fall foliage pictures to or send them to our Twitter handle @WTRF7News and we will show them on 7News!

WTRF StormTracker 7 Meteorologist Zach Petey

Copyright 2021 Nexstar Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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