The chlorophyll has the vital function of capturing solar rays, utilizing the resulting energy in the manufacture of the plant’s food, turning carbon dioxide from the air and water from the ground, into simple sugars, and exhaling the resulting oxygen so vital to animal life. During the growing season, the plant replenishes the chlorophyll so that the leaves stay green. The green pigment is broken down by the sun’s rays and the resulting energy is used to create the plant’s food.
So, what has happened this year? Well, locally we had a very long and very hot summer with very little rain. Of course, this has had an impact on our trees. If I look at my maple tree next to the house, I do not see an abundance of brilliant golden leaves, but only a few leaves are left, and they are yellowish and kind of shriveled. The maple tree that last year made the deep red statement next to the driveway, has lost all its leaves already. So why has our ‘leaf peeping’ season been so short and muted this year, compared to the vibrant drama of last year?
So if you like to plan a ‘leaf peeping’ excursion every year for the sheer joy of seeing mother nature at work, mark your calendar this year on the date that the colors begin to change! Remember, it is not the swirl of the environmental factors of temperature and moisture that begin the show. Rather it is the length of daylight in each area (latitude), that triggers the plants to start their displays, so your area should start pretty much at the same time each year.. How good a show it will be, will be determined by the wind, the rain, and the chill of the nights during the preceding year.