Recipe for Color- The Changing of the Leaves
Driving to work at RE/MAX Mountain Properties yesterday morning, I noticed something disturbing. A few solitary leaves were turning yellow and red. It’s mid-August, and the leaves are starting to change. I love summer and heat and would have them all year. Alas, it looks like fall is about to be upon us. As much as I love the summer sun I have to admit that fall, especially in our area, is breath taking. Several people obviously agree, as the fall season is just as busy if not busier than the spring and summer. And I will be the first to admit that I do love a good drive up on a mountain or on the Cherohala Skyway to check out the glorious autumnal color.
What causes that color though? What is the magical recipe that makes for a great leaf season?
Apparently, during the spring & summer the leaves are food factories for the tree. But when the fall season hits the leaves stop their food making process due to a change in daylight and temperatures. The color that the leaf changes to will depend on the tree and additional chemical changes. Typically, you see red and purple hues in trees like dogwoods and sumacs while some trees like the sugar maple is orange.
Low temperatures, light, and water are the keys to hues and duration of the foliage. What we hope not to see is an early freeze, heavy wind and rain, and drought. All those factors will cause less bright leaves and shorter foliage. The ideal environment is tons of sunlight, warm days, and cool nights.
Luckily this year we’re not in a drought, though it has been a dry summer here in Murphy. So fingers crossed the other conditions will cooperate for a brilliant autumn. If it should, you absolutely have to make a trip up here to check it out. Stay a night or two, check out our many harvest festivals, take a hike through the colorful trees, drink a delicious hot beverage sitting by a campfire as the smoke drifts into the night sky. Whatever you do, your time here is going to a fantastic adventure.