The Beautiful Hickory in it's Autumn Brilliance

The Beautiful Hickory in it's Autumn Brilliance

Starting from the Summer Solstice (June 21st) the sunlight starts to wane and chlorophyll gets ready to go on sabbatical.  The Shorter days and cooler temps in Fall slow the production of our green friend giving way to let a whole new cast shine in what is known as our spectacular ‘Fall Foliage’ here on the East Coast.

Other players like carotene, xanthophyll, and anthocyanin take the lead.  Carotene and Xanthophyll contribute to the beautiful yellow pigments we see in lovely natives like the Hickory.  Anthocyanin appear with the uprising of sugar production in the leaf and take charge.  They produce the striking red and purple pigments in trees like the native dogwood and one of my all- time favorites, the Black Gum! 

Tans and brown colors of leaves, usually seen in oaks come from tannins that appear in the leaf as chlorophyll fades away.

Previously all these pigments were masked by chlorophyll, but as it ‘leaves’ us during the Fall/Winter Sabbatical, all these other pigments shine through! 

Three factors influence autumn leaf color: leaf pigments, length of night, and weather.  You will notice this year, autumn has drawn upon us later than most typical years, due to our factor of weather; it has been unusually warm for fall this season. 

Check back for a list of top Fall Trees!  Click through below for more pics...