In Winnipeg and our rural communities farmers and gardeners alike are busy with the Fall harvest. Hunters also take advantage of the fall rutting season where Deer, Moose, Elk and Caribou are all seeking mates.
The season has changed and many transformations are in motion. Winter is around the corner and it is arguably the best time of year to see the natural reoccurring changes in plants and animals.
Squirrels are busy gathering nuts and wasps are tuned into anything red or yellow for those extra bits of anything sweet. Although our famous mosquitos are mostly gone (thank God!), flies and rodents alike are seeking warmer places so try not to leave your windows or doors open to long.
Most noticeably the leaves are changing color and starting to fall. Did you ever wonder why that happens?
Here is an excerpt from an article by Anne Marie Helmenstine, Ph.D Chemistry Expert.
Answer: When leaves appear green, it is because they contain an abundance of chlorophyll. There is so much chlorophyll in an active leaf that the green masks other pigment colors. Light regulates chlorophyll production, so as autumn days grow shorter, less chlorophyll is produced. The decomposition rate of chlorophyll remains constant, so the green color starts to fade from leaves.
At the same time, surging sugar concentrations cause increased production of anthocyanin pigments. Leaves containing primarily anthocyanins will appear red. Carotenoids are another class of pigments found in some leaves. Carotenoid production is not dependent on light, so levels aren’t diminished by shortened days. Carotenoids can be orange, yellow, or red, but most of these pigments found in leaves are yellow. Leaves with good amounts of both anthocyanins and carotenoids will appear orange.
Leaves with carotenoids but little or no anthocyanin will appear yellow. In the absence of these pigments, other plant chemicals also can affect leaf color. An example includes tannins, which are responsible for the brownish color of some oak leaves.
Temperature affects the rate of chemical reactions, including those in leaves, so it plays a part in leaf color. However, it’s mainly light levels that are responsible for fall foliage colors. Sunny autumn days are needed for the brightest color displays, since anthocyanins require light. Overcast days will lead to more yellows and browns.
Remember, Fall back – Spring ahead!
Time to get those winter tires out and have your vehicles and furnace tuned up before the rush!
As my Mom used to say “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure”
Thanks Mom! Fall