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Fall Science: Why Do Leaves Change Color?

It happens every single year, but why? We take a look at the science of leaves changing color in the Fall.

HUNTSVILLE, Ala. — During the spring and summer leaves have served as factories where most of the food necessary for the tree's growth is manufactured.

This food-making process takes place in the leaf in numerous cells containing chlorophyll

Chlorophyll is simply a green pigment. It appears green thanks to it’s ability to trap sunlight

As the season transitions from Summer to Fall the sun angle lowers therefor the intensity of sunlight decreases

As sunlight decreases, cells form at the base of the leaf which keeps the food made in the cells from being transported throughout the tree.

When this happens the chlorophyll production is stopped and broken down into other smaller molecules and sugars. The green pigment is no longer dominant and other colors shine through before the leaves fall off the tree.