Fall Foliage

Driving down the streets of Naperville you’ll see many fall colors but those hues are more than meets on the eye.

“In the fall the chlorophyll starts to break down, and fade out of the leaf and is not replaced and unmasks the yellow pigments, the keratins, that are in the leaf throughout the year,” said Plant Reference Manager at the Morton Arboretum, Ed Headborn.

Different shades of green, purple and red are also common colors of changing leave. Once the chlorophyll starts breaking down, the vibrancy of the color all depends on the plant and the amount of sun.

“Red pigments, which are anthrascenes, and those take very bright sunlight to develop,” said Headborn.

The right combination of fall weather makes for the most vibrant coloring.

“You’ll get the richest brightest colors, especially the reds and oranges, if you have bright sunny days followed by cool nights, and adequate moisture, and of course color producing plants,” said Headborn.

While the trees have already begun to change, the best is yet to come.

“In the next week or two you’ll see the brightest fall color here, the second or third week in October you have the most different types of plants with the most color,” said Headborn.

Be sure to enjoy the colors while they last. Trees usually start to lose their leaves the second week in November.


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