One of the benefits of autumn is the stunning and vivid fall foliage. Before the leaves fall off the trees, they create a breathtaking array of reds, oranges, and yellows that many people travel far to see. Below is a guide to this beautiful process.
Fall Foliage FAQ
What causes leaves to change color?
The process begins when temperatures start to cool. At this point, trees start to break down chlorophyll, which is the green pigment found in leaves. As the chlorophyll breaks down, the carotenoid content of the leaves becomes more visible, which is what allows orange and yellow colors to pop. Some trees, such as dogwood and red maple, also produce anthocyanin, which is the pigment responsible for creating that gorgeous, fiery red.
When can I expect to see peak fall color?
According to the Smokymountains.com Fall Foliage Prediction Map, fall foliage in North Carolina is typically at its peak during the first week of November.
How long does peak color last?
The intensity of a tree’s fall foliage largely depends on the weather. A wet, rain-heavy summer followed by a cool, dry, and sunny autumn tends to produce the most brilliant leaf colors. If there’s an early frost, however, the leaves will die and fall off the tree before they have the opportunity to achieve their peak hue. Typically, the later a frost occurs, the longer a fall foliage season will last.
How do these seasonal changes benefit the environment?
In addition to being beautiful, research suggests that fall foliage may help ensure the survival of certain species. According to a study from the Botanical Review, for example, bright red and yellow leaves may grab the attention of birds, encouraging them to disperse their seeds while feeding on a tree’s fruits. The vibrant autumn foliage may also serve as a mechanism to protect trees from insects, parasites, and other pests looking to lay eggs or feed on their bark.
To learn more about North Carolina’s stunning fall foliage, get in touch with Edgefield Plant & Stone Center in Greensboro, NC. With more than 30 years of experience, this knowledgeable team of experts at this female-owned garden center is highly knowledgeable about tree species and passionate about landscape and garden design. Visit their website to learn more about the services they offer, and call (336) 662-0081 to speak with a talented landscaper today.