Why do leaves change?

Forecasts predict fall foliage splendor erupting into mid-October. Extending an invitation to witness this magnificent sensation’s Pocono Mountains start, we’re compelled to do our part by sharing facts about why leaves change color.

In warmer months, leaves capture the sun’s energy and turn it into food through a process called photosynthesis made possible by a pigment called chlorophyll keeping leaves green in the summer. Chlorophyll absorbs sunlight, turning it into the sugars trees need. Yellow and orange pigments, while present, are overpowered by green chlorophyll.

As winter approaches, trees shed their leaves to slow moisture evaporation which is difficult to replace when the ground is frozen and may be damaging when water within the leaves freezes and expands.

To prepare, trees grow a corky layer that prevents water from entering leaves. Without water, the tree stops making chlorophyll, and the old chlorophyll fades away. Leaves then unveil those glorious yellow and orange pigments!

For red leaves, the explanation differs. The corky layer not only stops water from entering leaves, it also prevents sugars from exiting. When the sun shines on the leaves, sugars react with a chemical to form a red pigment; with that in mind, a leaf that is in complete shade will thereby not turn red.

This WeekGo Take a Hike or take time to sit back and capture the essence of nature’s beautiful transformation in this truly mesmerizing Pocono Mountains experience!