The timing of leaf coloring til leaf fall is dependent on the increasing length of night. As the days grow shorter, a tree’s biochemical process shifts and its production of chlorophyll slows and eventually ceases. As the leaf’s chlorophyll is used up by the tree, other color pigments—carotenoids and anthocyanins—become visible. According to the USDA Forest Service site, “Both chlorophyll and carotenoids are present in the chloroplasts of leaf cells throughout the growing season. Most anthocyanins are produced in the autumn, in response to bright light and excess plant sugars within leaf cells.”Carotenoids are responsible for the yellows, golds, oranges and browns in both leaves and in corn, carrots, bananas, and buttercups. Anthocyanins give cranberries, plums, cherries, blueberries, and strawberries their distinct hues. Typically, a tree’s fall color doesn’t vary much from year to year…but this year, we have had a number of unique factors that have contributed to our beautiful display.
1. Exceptionally dry spring and early summer; all of our trees were highly stressed during that period.
2. Good rainfall beginning in late summer and early; leaves began producing sugars like crazy to support the renewed growth potential of the trees.
3. A succession of many warm, sunny days and very cool, crisp evenings.
It is almost as though the trees are celebrating this gorgeous end of summer and early fall–and trying to postpone the inevitable long, cold winter days ahead. We hope YOU will continue the celebration with us at our annual Sanborn Reunion on Oct. 13th-16th. Together, we will enjoy these beautiful fall days and the successful completion of our Sanborn 60 Capital Campaign.
The Aspen will be blazing the trail home. Hope to see you in October.