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Well I was beginning to think our fall foliage was going to be “not so great”.

Everything seemed to be either green or brown, period.

Then all of the sudden, last Friday, Saturday and Sunday, everything seemed to explode.

Red, orange and yellow leaves started to show up all over the lake!

So, why do the leaves turn colors in the fall?

People think that the leaves turn because of cooler temps.

But as summer ends and the days get shorter and shorter, the trees know it is time to get ready for winter.

Their food production slows so the tree can rest.

Small amounts of yellow and orange pigments are already in some leaves all summer, but they are covered up by the green chlorophyll.

During the winter, there are not enough daylight hours to continue making the chlorophyll, so as the photosynthesis process wanes, the green fades into oranges, and yellows.

The reds and purples we see are actually made in the fall from glucose trapped in the leaves, like maple trees.

After photosynthesis stops, the shorter days and cool nights of autumn turn the glucose into reds.

The brown leaves, like on many of the oak trees, is a result of wastes left in the leaves.

So that is how we get a variety of fall colors.

And even though weather conditions may affect the vividness of the colors and how long it lasts, the change actually happens about the same time every year due to shorter days.

There is the science lesson for the week!

Enjoy the Earth! Diana