Why Leaves Change Colors

Kids are naturally curious and always full of questions. During fall, those questions often turn towards the season, and many private school in Orlando students start to wonder why the world starts changing around them, especially the leaves on the trees in their own yard. Here’s how you can explain to your children one of life’s little mysteries!

It All Comes Down to Chlorophyll

Chlorophyll, a green pigment, is what makes leaves green during spring and summer. During the fall, the chlorophyll in leaves starts to break down, causing the orange and brown colors to appear. The process is relatively slow, and it’s not uncommon to see leaves with a combination of green, red, brown, and orange still attached to the tree.

Chlorophyll is not the only chemical in leaves that impacts the color of the leaves themselves. The deep red color associated with many east-coast fall leaves is caused by the presence of anthocyanin, a blue, red, or violet pigment.

What Causes the Leaves to Drop

Many believe that the change in weather is what causes the change in leaf colors, but, it’s not that simple. During the fall, the amount of sunlight decreases, therefore leaves absorb less. Though the temperature drop may impact a tree’s growth and the number of flowers, it’s not the only reason that leaves start to fall.

When the daylight decreases, the chlorophyll breaks down. Over time, the stem of each leaf starts to dry out, eventually causing the pigment to fade to a dull brown. Towards the end of the color change cycle, the leaf begins to shrivel and the stem dries up, eventually causing the leaf to detach from the tree. Remind your child that this doesn’t mean that the tree is dying — it’s just entering a period of hibernation.

As your children grow, their questions will change from simple things you can answer to the questions best left to their teachers. No matter what state your child is at, the teachers at their private school in Orlando are ready to help. Contact Lake Forrest Prep to schedule a tour today.