Sunday, July 24, 2011

Autumn colors of New England

Every October, the leaves in New England burst into a spectacular symphony of vibrant colours before they fall to the ground as the trees become dormant for winter, and
tree peeping is a common pastime during the autumn. Once you see the joyous explosion of colours bursting over the picturesque landscape, you will understand why this is the msot popular season for visiting the area.

So why do leaves change color in autumn? At this time of year the production of chlorophyll in leaves stops and so they lose their vibrant green colours revealing the underlying tones caused by the presence of other pigments, such as caroteriods which provide yellow, orange and brown colours and anthocyanins which give red and purple colours.

Autumn leaf colour is specific to the species of tree because of the different chemicals in the leaves. Oaks turn red, brown, or russet; hickories become golden bronze; dogwoods go purplish red; beech fade to light tan; red maple turn a brilliant scarlet; sugar maple go orange-red; black maple become glowing yellow; sourwood and black tupelo change to crimson and aspen, birch, and yellow poplar turn a golden yellow.

The range and intensity of autumn colours are greatly influenced by the weather and the brightest autumn colours are produced when dry; sunny days are followed by cool, dry nights.

Regardless of timing, if you are fortunate enough to see the stunning autumn colours that cover vast swathes of New England, you will understand why there is even a foliage hot line offering hourly reports on the best places to go.

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