September 27, 2017

Fall Color Comes Early in Naperville

As days grow shorter we see more yellows, oranges and reds. Leaves are falling to the ground and soon there will be piles for kids to play in.

But is it all too soon?

Morton Arboretum Plant Records Manager Ed Hedborn said fall color has come a few weeks early this year.

“What has accelerated the change for us is the dry weather we’ve had, which has resulted in dry soil conditions,” said Hedborn.

Hedborn said those dry conditions combined with the normal signal of shortening days is speeding up the color change in the leaves.

“And then what really triggered it was we had that spell when it was cool during the day but bright and sunny and then we had very cool weather during the evening,” said Hedborn.

Normally we wouldn’t see these changes until the second week in October. Hedborn said the change is just the trees’ way of protecting themselves.

“I wouldn’t call it negative,” said Hedborn. “It’s just, it’s the weather, and that’s our climate that we have in this area.”

The change in weather and daylight tells the trees it’s time to stop creating the energy capturing pigment called chlorophyll, which gives them their normal hue.

“As they don’t make as much, the chlorophyll goes away, and it unmasks the yellow color, the carotenes that were in the leaf all summer,” said Hedborn.

Hedborn said it is impossible to determine just how long the fall color change will last because it all depends on the weather.

Naperville News 17’s Beth Bria reports.

 

 

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