What weather conditions lead to brilliant fall leaf colors?
INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. –Weather has a big role in the beautiful colors we see in the leaves each fall season. I wanted to write this blog and explain the ingredients needed for the best fall foliage.
First, we have to understand that chlorophyll gives leaves their green color. It’s needed for photosynthesis, which is how plants use sunlight to create sugars for their food.
There’s also something called anthocyanins. They give apples and grapes and other fruits their color. They are found in leaf cells.
Chlorophyll is produced during the growing season and hence the green color in the leaves. As autumn gets into full swing and the night hours lengthen, the chlorophyll slows down and is eventually destroyed. This is when the anthocyanins are revealed and we see the colors in the leaves.
It’s important to get a few warm and sunny days in a row coupled with cool, dry nights. However, freezing temperatures can damage the leaves. These ideal conditions will help change the leaves to the red and crimson colors you often see.
Soil moisture also affects leaf color. A late spring or summer drought can delay the change of colors of the leaves by a few weeks.
If you start to see the leaves changing colors in central Indiana, send me a pic! I’ll try to use on air on Fox 59! You can tweet me @DanielleDozier or tag me on Instagram @danielledozierwx. — Danielle Dozier