Tree with yellow leaves

10 Best Trees and Shrubs for Fall Color

Add Fiery Autumn Foliage

Photo by iStock Photo

Even summer’s most ardent fans have to admit that fall offers some irresistible pleasures. Luckily, you can enjoy autumn’s signature foliage show even if you live where summer cools gently into a mild winter and many leaves simply go brown before they fall. Just plant some key trees and shrubs that produce reliable color wherever they grow.

Here are some generally well-behaved plants that do well in a range of climates. All of them dazzle in the fall, and, as a bonus, many also put on a show in other seasons, too, with flowers in the spring or summer, fruit later in the year, and interesting bark in the winter.

Shown: A classic white Colonial Revival is the perfect foil for fall’s yellow, orange, and red leaves.

Gingko

Photo by Mark Turner

(G. biloba)

Gingkos put on a spectacular yellow show in fall. Considered living fossils because they are the last survivors of tree varieties that grew worldwide 200 million years ago, gingkos are related to conifers but have fan-shaped leaves rather than needles. The leaves resemble those of the maidenhair fern, thus the common name: maidenhair tree. Trees often have an umbrella shape and can grow 80 feet tall, though many stay only half that height.

Full sun; regular to moderate water; Zones 4–9

TOH Tip: It’s worth noting that unless you have a large property, some of the season’s beauties are best enjoyed while driving through the countryside rather than planted near your home. Quaking aspen, a shining star of the western landscape because of golden leaves that seem to shimmer as they flutter in even a slight breeze, sends out aggressive surface roots and numerous suckers, which can create havoc with pavement and underground pipes. Similarly, the beloved sugar maples of the Northeast can lift a concrete sidewalk if planted too close to the street.

Smokebush

Photo by John Glover/Alamy

(Cotinus coggygria)

Also known as smoketree, this plant can be allowed to grow as a shrub or be pruned as a small tree. Small yellow flowers open in June. As they fade, long stalks with fuzzy pink hairs spring out, creating the impression that the plant is surrounded by purple to pinkish-tan smoke. These fade away by fall, when the leaves turn yellow or orange-red. ‘Royal Purple’ has purple foliage that turns scarlet red; ‘Ancot’ has lime-green leaves that go orange.

Full sun; moderate water; Zones 5-8

Katsura Tree

Photo by Yasuo Murota/Getty Images

(Cercidiphyllum japonicium)

With dainty branches that become dense with rounded leaves, katsuras make great shade trees all summer, then put on a show of yellow or pinkish yellow in fall. Around the time leaves fall, the tree produces a fragrance that some call spicy; others compare it to brown sugar. Most katsuras have a pyramid shape when young but over time may become as wide as they are tall (up to 60 feet). There are also weeping forms, such as ‘Amazing Grace,’ that look particularly beautiful when the branches are bare in winter.

Full sun to light shade; regular water; Zones 4-8

Witch Hazel

Photo by Yasuo Murota/Getty Images

(Hamamelis virginiana)

If you crave fragrance and flowers, as well as colorful leaves in fall, plant this native shrub. It glows with yellow when its leaves turn in early autumn. In late fall, its flowers appear and remain on the branches even after the leaves have fallen (see inset). The flowers, also yellow, have a curious shape that some people compare to mopheads or spiders, and smell of spice.

Full sun to partial shade; regular water; Zones 3-9

Pomegranate

Photo by Arco Images/Alamy

(Punica granatum)

Warm-winter gardeners can delight in the bright yellow fall leaves of this unusual shrub or small tree. Some varieties, including ‘Wonderful’ and ‘Ambrosia,’ produce edible fruit in the fall, with red or pink skin encasing juicy but seedy sacs of pulp. Left hanging on the tree, the fruit resembles ball-shaped Christmas ornaments. Other pomegranates are purely ornamental. ‘Chico’ has orange-red double flowers that resemble carnations, but they don’t develop into fruit. ‘Nana’ has single orange-red flowers that form fruit, but it is small and not juicy.

Full sun; regular water; Zones 7-10

Blueberry

Photo by Tim Gainey/Alamy

(Vaccinium spp.)

When the dainty bell flowers of spring and the juicy berries of summer are just memories, blueberries continue to delight, with leaves that turn yellow, orange, or wine red in fall. Northern types do well where winters are cold but don’t set fruit in warm-winter areas. There, grow southern varieties, also known as rabbiteyes. All northern types have brilliant fall color. Of the southern varieties, the hybrid ‘O’Neal’and ‘Jubilee’ (V. corymbosum) are two of the best looking. ‘Sunshine Blue,’ an evergreen, performs well nearly everywhere. About half its leaves turn red in the fall; the rest stay on all winter.

Full sun to partial shade; regular water; Zones 5-10

Red-Twig Dogwood

Photo by Jonathan Need/Alamy

(Cornus spp.)

Gardeners grow red-twig dogwoods mostly for the color of the stems once the leaves drop. But the leaves of most varieties also turn brilliant red or reddish purple before they fall. For the reddest stems, look for ‘Arctic Fire’ (C. stolinifera), which grows 3 to 4 feet tall, and ‘Baileyi’ (C. sericea), which is twice as big. Yellow-twig dogwoods, such as ‘Flaviramea’ (C. sericea), also have reddish-purple leaves in fall. Red-twig dogwoods with variegated foliage vary in fall color. All types have clusters of white flowers in spring and white to red-purple fruit that birds enjoy.

Full sun to partial shade; regular water; Zones 2-9

Maple

Photo by Bruce Hands/Getty Images

(Acer spp.)

No list of fall foliage plants would be complete without maple trees. Sugar maple (A. saccharum) is the quintessential stalwart in New England, where hillsides of them turn gorgeous shades of red, orange, and yellow. Sugar maples grow up to 75 feet tall and 40 feet wide. If your yard can’t handle that, consider other kinds of maples that also have strikingly colorful leaves in fall, including vine maple (A. circinatum), native to the Northwest, and the smaller Japanese maple (A. palmatum). Avoid invasive types, including Amur (A. ginnala) and Norway (A. platanoides) maples.

Full sun to partial shade; regular water; Zones 3-9

Redbud

Photo by Mark Turner

(Cercis spp.)

Despite its name, this small tree bears bright pinkish-purple spring flowers before its heart-shaped leaves appear. Most varieties turn yellow in autumn; the eastern redbud (C. canadensis) ‘Forest Pansy’ is one of the few with reddish-purple fall foliage. In winter, long mahogany seed pods cling to bare branches. The eastern redbud is more common and adaptable than the western natives (C. occidentalis and C. canadensis mexicana), though the latter are very drought tolerant. Due to its varied seasonal interest and its ability to grow in light shade, redbud provides a great contrast next to evergreens. Eastern kinds grow to 35 feet; western types to about half that.

Full sun or light shade; moderate to regular water; Zones 4-9

TOH Pro Advice

Photo by Mark Turner

“The colorful fall trees you really notice stand by themselves, so don’t bury them in a bunch of shrubs. Group a few together if you want a really big show.” —Roger Cook, TOH landscape contractor

STEP-BY-STEP: How to Plant a Tree

VIDEO: How to Plant a Shrub

What trees turn which color in fall? Your guide to fall foliage in Pennsylvania

Marcus Schneck | [email protected]

What trees are which color in fall? Your guide to fall foliage in Pennsylvania

With the many tree species that are common across Pennsylvania, the state offers a diverse pallet of color every fall. Leaf-peeping in the Keystone State always rewards the peeper. But, which trees are showing those yellows, oranges and reds.

Here’s a color-by-color guide to the predominant species of fall foliage in Pennsylvania. There is some crossover in our guide because some tree species offer more than one leaf color in the fall.

Don’t Edit

Marcus Schneck | [email protected]

Golden yellow

Species that generally change to a golden yellow in the fall include American elm, black cherry, cucumber magnolia, hop hornbeam, quaking aspen, shagbark hickory, striped maple, sugar maple, tulip poplar and witch hazel.

Don’t Edit

Marcus Schneck | [email protected]

Yellow

Beech, bigtooth aspen, chestnut, mountain ash, mulberry, paper birch, pawpaw, pignut hickory, redbud, river birch, slippery elm, spicebush, sugar maple, sweet birch and white oak.

Don’t Edit

Marcus Schneck | [email protected]

Pale yellow

Bittersweet, black walnut, green ash and sycamore.

Don’t Edit

Marcus Schneck | [email protected]

Bronze

Beech, box elder, chestnut oak and white oak.

Don’t Edit Don’t Edit

Marcus Schneck | [email protected]

Orange

Fire cherry, ironwood, gray birch, poison sumac, red maple, sassafras and sugar maple.

Don’t Edit

Marcus Schneck | [email protected]

Red

Blackgum, mountain ash, poison sumac, red maple, red oak, sassafras, white ash and sugar maple.

Don’t Edit

Marcus Schneck | [email protected]

Scarlet

Scarlet oak, smooth sumac and staghorn sumac.

Don’t Edit

Marcus Schneck | [email protected]

Maroon

Flowering dogwood, gray dogwood and white ash.

Don’t Edit

Bill Allison

More about fall foliage 2016

Best ways to see fall foliage in Pennsylvania.

What to expect from fall foliage in Pennsylvania in 2016.

Peak foliage color advances as autumn progresses: Fall Foliage 2016

Don’t Edit Don’t Edit

When Good Maples Go Red: Why Leaves Change Color In The Fall

Though Robert Frost might have imagined something more poetic, tree physiologists will tell you the answer is anthocyanin. This is the pigment that leaves produce in autumn, creating the bright displays of red and purple foliage that draw thousands of wistful tourists (and their wallets) to New England.

But chemistry is not cause. “We know the basic biochemical reasons (leaves go red),” says US Forest Service researcher Paul Schaberg — under stress, leaf sugars are converted to anthocyanin — “but the ecology and exact mechanisms are still unknown.” Why does a maple go yellow one year and red the next? Are cold nights the trigger? Does the red color serve to deter insect pests? “There are dozens of competing theories,” he says.

Which is why he and his intern, University of Vermont forestry student Will Young, are peering up into a sugar maple outside the Forest Service Research Station on Spear Street in Burlington, VT. Below the tree, they’ve installed a tarp-covered freezer, festooned with blue wires and silver tubes that run up into the branches. Inside the tubes, antifreeze flows to selected twigs and keeps them colder than the surrounding branches.

And, sure enough, the chilled branches displayed brilliant red leaves last week and are now a naked November grey, while the surrounding branches are still covered with yellow leaves. “If we can understand what triggers anthocyanin production — cold is clearly part of the picture — then we can better understand the reasons why the tree produces anthocyanin,” Schaberg says. “It comes at a metabolic cost to the tree late in the season to make the pigment; so, what are the benefits?”

To explore this question, Schaberg and Paula Murakami, his colleague at the Forest Service, have been collaborating with University of Vermont researchers John Shane, Gary Hawley and others in UVM’s Rubenstein School of Environment and Natural Resources.

advertisement

For decades, forestry textbooks claimed that anthocyanin served no function as trees prepared to drop their leaves; it simply became visible as green chlorophyll molecules broke down in autumn. But more recent research from around the world has proposed numerous ways that anthocyanin could benefit trees in autumn: as a sunscreen to protect leaves from excess light, as an antioxidant to help repair leaf damage, and to help resist cold and drought. In short: it’s made, not left over.

A recent paper in the journal Trees, co-authored by Forest Service and UVM researchers, showed that in sugar maples the stems of red-colored leaves were more firmly attached than their yellow brethren. This observation adds another piece to the hypothesis that Schaberg and his colleagues have been exploring: anthocyanin may allow trees to keep absorbing sugars and nutrients from leaves later into the fall — an obvious advantage for a sugar maple living on a cold mountainside with a short growing season.

“Me? I just climb up and down ladders with duct tape,” says Will Young, with a grin, as he carefully places tiny disks of chopped leaf into a test tube of methanol. As part of a USDA minority scholarship he received through the Rubenstein School, each week Young works with researchers in labs at the Forest Service and on campus, as they measure sugar levels, record chlorophyll content, and search for clues about how a maple makes a living.

“In Natural Resources 1, my first day here, we talked about why leaves turn red,” Young says. “This is Vermont. Everyone cares about red leaves.”

And one of the reasons people care about red leaves is that their role in Vermont’s landscape — and economy — may be under threat from climate change.

advertisement

On Oct. 1 at UVM’s Proctor Maple Research Center in Underhill Center, researchers Tim Perkins, Abby van den Berg and Tom Vogelmann launched a new project also looking for answers to the question, why do leaves go red?

“Like the team at the Forest Service, we’re asking a basic question about how temperature affects leaf color. The hypothesis is that cool, but not freezing, nights promote anthocyanin development,” van den Berg says.

“But underlying this basic question, we want to be able to better predict how climate change is going to affect fall coloration,” she says.

At the Proctor Center, the researchers have about 200 seedlings in pots. Some, in a refrigerated blue tub, are kept colder than the surrounding air — one group only at night, others all the time. Over the fall, van den Berg has been monitoring the seedlings’ color development with a digital camera and using a handheld meter to measure anthocyanin and chlorophyll content.

“Cold at night may prevent the leaf from exporting all the sugars it made during the day into the twig and therefore they get trapped in the leaf,” she says. And these sugars are the backbone of anthocyanin synthesis — “they provide the precursors,” she says. With a warming climate, the researchers want to know how this process will change, perhaps cutting, extending or delaying the “leaf peeping” season.

At the end of their three-year project, funded by the USDA, van den Berg hopes to have a clearer forecast about the future of red foliage.

“Our primary focus here at Proctor is maple syrup production, but a lot of those producers depend on fall tourism to sell their product. Leaf season really permeates throughout local economies all year long,” van den Berg says. The Vermont Department of Tourism tallied visitor spending during last year’s fall tourism season at $363 million.

And climate change may affect not just the leaves but the tree species of New England’s forests too. “If we lose our sugar maples or our red maples (to climate change),” van den Berg asks, “what is that going to do to our fall color?”

Yellow Fall Colored Trees: Trees That Turn Yellow In Autumn

Trees with yellow fall leaves burst forth with a blaze of bright color until the trees drop their leaves for the winter. If you’re a fan of trees that turn yellow in autumn, there are many yellow fall colored trees from which to choose, depending on your growing zone. Read on for a few great suggestions.

Trees That Turn Yellow in Autumn

While there a re a number of trees that can provide wonderful yellow fall foliage, these are some of the most common trees seen in home landscapes and some good ones to start with. Nothing is more exhilarating than enjoying these beautiful yellow and golden tones on a crisp fall day.

Big-leaf maple (Acer macrophyllum) – Big-leaf maple is a large tree with huge leaves that turn a rich shade of yellow in autumn, sometimes with a hint of orange. Zone 5-9

Katsura (Cerciphyllum japonicum) – Katsura is a tall, rounded tree that produces purple, heart-shaped leaves in spring. When temperatures drop in autumn, the color is transformed to apricot-yellow fall foliage. Zones 5-8

Serviceberry (Amelanchier x grandiflora) – Trees with yellow leaves include serviceberry, a relatively small, showy tree that produces pretty flowers in spring, followed by edible berries that are delicious on jams, jellies and desserts. Fall color ranges from yellow to brilliant, orange-red. Zones 4-9

Persian ironwood (Parrotia persica) – This is a small, low-maintenance tree that produces a range of sunset colors, including orange, red and yellow fall foliage. Zones 4-8

Ohio buckeye (Aesculus glabra) – The Ohio buckeye is a small- to medium-sized tree generally produces yellow fall foliage, but the leaves may sometimes be red or orange, depending on weather conditions. Zones 3-7.

Larch (Larix spp.) – Available in a range of sizes and forms, larchis a deciduous evergreen tree that grows in cold, mountainous regions. Fall foliage is a shade of brilliant, golden-yellow. Zones 2-6
Eastern redbud (Cercis canadensis) – Eastern redbud is valued for its masses of rose-purple flowers followed by interesting, bean-like seed pods and attractive, greenish-yellow fall foliage. Zones 4-8

Ginkgo (Ginkgo biloba) – Also known as maidenhair tree, ginkgois a deciduous conifer with attractive, fan-shaped leaves that turn bright yellow in autumn. Zones 3-8

Shagbark hickory (Carya ovata) – People who love trees with yellow fall leaves will appreciate shagbark hickory’s colorful foliage that turns from yellow to brown as autumn progresses. The tree is also known for its flavorful nuts and shaggy bark. Zones 4-8

Tulip poplar (Liriodendron tulipifera) – Also known as yellow poplar, this huge, tall tree is actually a member of the magnolia family. It is one of the prettiest, most majestic trees with yellow fall leaves Zones 4-9

Trees for Fall Color

Green ash.

Trees set the landscape afire each autumn when leaves turn from summer shades of green to flaming hues of red, yellow, and orange. To enjoy this golden season in your yard, plant species that are celebrated for their colorful fall foliage. Use this guide when you go tree shopping at your local nursery.

American folklore credits Jack Frost for autumn foliage color. Actually, this cold, mythical character spoils the show by killing the leaf cells that produce bright hues. The truth is, nature stages the brilliant fall act to prepare trees for winter.

Autumn’s shorter days signal trees to stop manufacturing chlorophyll, the dominant, green pigment in leaves during spring and summer. When chlorophyll weakens, other pigments — such as carotin and anthocyanin — reveal their blazing colors.

The Science Behind Fall Leaves

Image zoom

Carotin is responsible for bright yellow and orange autumn hues. Sugar maple, birch, ash, ginkgo, redbud, beech, hickory, butternut, honey locust, linden, pecan, poplar, tuliptree, and walnut offer golden-yellow foliage each fall. For orange foliage, look for yellowwood, Ohio buckeye, and paperbark maple.

The crimson colors on dogwood, swamp maple, amurmaple, sweet gum, hawthorn, sourwood, and oak come from anthocyanin. This red pigment is stimulated by cool nights (below 45 degrees) and warm, sunny days — a time traditionally known as Indian summer.

Important Considerations for Fall Trees

Image zoom

Fall color is just one characteristic to keep in mind when you select trees for your yard. Other important considerations include mature size, hardiness, and resistance to insects and diseases. Your own neighborhood and a local arboretum are good places to identify species that grow well in your climate.

Sun and space are the two key needs of trees. Most species require sunlight to grow, so place a new tree where it will not be shaded by buildings or larger trees. Large, spreading trees — such as oak, maple, and ash — need at least 65 feet between their trunks. Plant them 30 feet from your house and 10 feet from paved areas to prevent roots from damaging foundations. Columnar trees-such as birch and poplar-can be planted 15 to 20 feet from your home’s foundation. Space small trees-such as redbud, serviceberry, and dogwood — 10 feet apart and 8 feet from a house.

For fall planting, you can buy a containerized or balled-and-burlapped (B&B) tree at a local nursery.To plant a B&B tree, measure the diameter of the root ball with the handle of your shovel. Remove a ring of sod that’s at least twice the circumference of the root ball, then set the tree aside. Dig a hole deep enough that the top of the root ball is even with the ground level. When the tree is in place, cut the cord around the root ball. Roll back the burlap, but do not remove it. Refill the hole with soil.

To eliminate air pockets, soak the soil thoroughly. After the water has drained, add more soil. Make a basin for water by encircling the tree with a 3-inch-high ring of soil a foot away from the trunk. Mulch with shredded bark.

Staking and wrapping the trunks of young trees will provide support against strong winter winds and prevent damage from animals. Use two or three evenly spaced stakes around the trunk, and secure the tree with heavy cord just below the lowest branches.

To protect the bark, buy a special tree wrap. Wrap the trunk from the bottom up so there will be no lip that can collect water and cause fungus problems.

The following trees are listed according to the coldest climate in which they will grow. For best results, consult with an expert at a reputable tree nursery before you make final selections for your yard.

Northern states:

Image zoom Sourwood

  • amur maple (Acer ginnala)
  • sugar maple (Acer saccharum)
  • Norway maple (Acer platanoides)
  • shadblow serviceberry (Amelanchier canadensis)
  • birch (Betula sp.)
  • American beech (Fagus grandifolia)
  • ginkgo (Ginkgo biloba)
  • sassafras (Sassafras albidum)
  • sour gum (Nyssa sylvatica)
  • red oak (Quercus rubra)
  • scarlet oak (Q. coccinea)
  • pin oak (Q. palustris)
  • white oak (Q. alba)
  • American hornbeam (Carpinus caroliniana) Washington
  • hawthorn (Crataegus phaenopyrum)
  • white ash (Fraxinus americana)
  • Shagbark hickory (Carya ovata)
  • tulip tree (Liriodendron tulipifera)
  • Eastern redbud (Cercis canadensis)
  • yellowwood (Cladrastis lutea) quaking aspen (Populus tremuloides) Sargent cherry (Prunus sargentii) Ohio buckeye (Aesculus glabra)

Central states:

  • Japanese maple (Acer palmatum)
  • paperbark maple (Acer griseum)
  • flowering dogwood (Cornus florida)
  • Chinese redbud (Cercis chinensis)
  • American smoke tree (Cotinus americanus)
  • Japanese chestnut (Castanea crenata)
  • sweet gum (Liquidambar styraciflua)
  • star magnolia (Magnolia stellata)
  • sourwood (Oxydendrum arboreum)
  • Persian parrotia (Parrotia persica)
  • Nipponese cherry (Prunus nipponica)
  • Folgner mountain ash (Sorbus folgneri)

Deep South and West Coast:

  • big-leaf maple (Acer macrophyllum)
  • vine maple (Acer circinatum)
  • Pacific dogwood (Cornus nuttallii)
  • pecan (Carya illinoinensis)
  • velvet ash (Fraxinus velutina glabra)
  • Chinese sour gum (Nyssa sinensis)
  • Chinese pistachio (Pistacia chinensis)

STEMvisions Blog

What is your favorite thing to do in autumn? Go on a hayride? Walk through a pumpkin patch or an apple orchard? Watch leaves dance around you?

Autumn is a beautiful and fun season for all ages. We can observe a lot of changes in autumn—the air becomes crisp, the evenings grow longer, and leaves’ dazzling colors emerge. We know autumn is here when the bright green summer landscape changes to reveal brilliant reds, oranges, yellows, and golds. But leaves are not on trees just to make them pretty. Trees need leaves to keep them alive!

Leaf or Needle?

Not all trees have leaves that change color and fall off. Trees that go through that cycle are deciduous. Deciduous trees usually have large, broad leaves. Trees that stay green all the time are coniferous. Conifer “leaves” are called needles because they are spiky, unlike the large, flat leaves of deciduous trees. Conifers also produce cones that probably look familiar to you.

While the two types of leaves look different, they serve the same purpose. Trees need leaves because the leaves provide food for the whole tree. How can such a small part of a tree do that? It is a process called photosynthesis. The leaves convert energy from sunlight into sugars the tree uses for food. Chlorophyll is a chemical inside leaves and needles that makes them green. This chemical absorbs the energy from sunlight and assists in food production during photosynthesis.

Most of the year, leaves on deciduous trees are a rich green color because of the abundance of chlorophyll within each of the many chloroplasts within a cell. But the yellow and orange pigments you see in autumn are actually always there. They are just masked until other changes happen.

Conifer needles are adapted to stay green all year, so these trees can keep the process of photosynthesis going through the winter.

Deciduous trees grow broad leaves (top). Conifer trees grow narrow needles that always stay green (bottom). Top Image: SvetaVo/iStock/Thinkstock, Bottom Image: apinunrin/iStock/Thinkstock

Fall Foliage

Have you ever thought that the leaves changing color was the first sign of autumn? Actually, other factors trigger the leaves to change color! The seasons change because Earth’s tilt and revolution cause the Northern and Southern Hemispheres to receive different amounts of direct sunlight. The part of Earth that receives less direct sunlight has fewer hours of daylight and cooler temperatures. When the days get shorter, the chlorophyll in the leaves breaks down. That is when the oranges and yellows that were covered up reveal themselves. You might also see vibrant reds and even purples. Unlike the yellow and orange that were covered, the darker reds are caused by a chemical change. Sometimes sugars get trapped in the leaves. The sugars produce new pigments that were not part of the leaf during the growing season. These are called anthocyanins. Not all leaves produce anthocyanins, but the ones that do certainly enhance the beauty of autumn!

Oaks and dogwoods are likely to produce red leaves. Maples have a few different species. Red maples will turn scarlet, but sugar maples will be lighter with more orange. Hickory and aspen trees will turn golden yellow.

The red maple’s leaves produce pigments that turn them red because of a chemical change. Image: moisseyev/iStock/Thinkstock

Location

Depending on where you live, the characteristics of autumn can be different. In the United States, the Northeast is particularly known for an amazing display of color. Asia has many of the same types of trees. In these areas, the colors are breathtaking, but the change happens very fast. A little farther south, changes occur more slowly and the colors last a few more weeks. The best colors are produced when the weather is dry, sunny, and cool. Places that are cloudy, damp, or warm, such as Europe and the tropics, will not see the same degree of changing color.

How Trees Prepare for Winter

You know that after the leaves change color, they fall off the trees. If the leaves that have been feeding trees change color and fall off, how do the trees stay alive? The trees change their behavior a bit after summer. As the amount of sunlight declines, the tree starts building a protective seal between each leaf and its connecting branch. Trees also stop photosynthesis and take in as many nutrients as possible from the leaves. Soon the branch becomes completely sealed off from the leaf. When the leaves are cut off from fluid, they fall to the ground. In winter, trees live off nutrients that have been stored during the summer months. When temperatures warm up and there is more sunlight, the cycle starts again!

This is an excerpt from the Structure and Function unit of our curriculum product line, STCMSTM. Please visit our publisher, Carolina Biological, to learn more.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *