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 Ferida's Backyard

Ahh, Autumn

It’s officially Autumn. The weather traditionally would be cooling down on its way to greet Winter. But this has been a strange season, weatherwise.

Fewer jackets are being worn than expected and it’s not unusual to see kids still in shorts. Temperatures have been way warmer than average. Greenhouse gases such as carbon dioxide and methane trap the sun’s heat and have been warming Earth’s atmosphere.

It seems like a warmer Fall would alter the timing of when leaves change their color but trees seem to know better. The leaves are glowing with brilliant reds and yellows and starting to fall in huge numbers.

I used to like to crunch them when I walked down the street. I still do.

Ahh, Autumn. It remains its beautiful self. Now it’s time to get out the rake and gather the fallen leaves.

Crunch, crunch, crunch.

Copyright Ferida Woolf, 2023


Science of Fall Colors

For years, scientists have worked to understand the changes that occur in trees and shrubs during autumn. Although we don't know all the details, we do know enough to explain the basics to help you enjoy nature's multicolored display. Three factors influence autumn leaf color:

  • leaf pigments
  • length of night
  • weather

The timing of color changes and the onset of falling leaves is primarily regulated by the calendar as nights become longer. None of the other environmental influences – such as temperature, rainfall, food supply – are as unvarying as the steadily increasing length of night during autumn. As days grow shorter, and nights grow longer and cooler, biochemical processes in the leaf begin to paint the landscape with Nature's autumn palette.


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