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The Colors of Autmn

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You may havebrnoticed that the days are getting shorter and the and the nights are cooler. Webrare entering the Fall or Autumn season and officially that occurs on Sept. 22.

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That is thebrdate in the earth’s rotation around the sun when the length of day and nightbrare approximately equal all over the planet. In the northern hemisphere thebrdays become shorter until Winter Solstice on Dec. 21.

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The tilt onbrthe earth’s axis is a very clever design by our creator to spread the warmth ofbrthe sun.  It is generally understood thatbrthe fall colors we see are a result of shorter days and cooler temperatures.brThe changing of the leaves may start earlier this year because of the droughtbrwe have had since the Spring rains stopped.   

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The colors we see in the transitionbrfrom the warm growing season to the dormant plant life of winter are abrwonderful story of the creator’s design when you think about it. Amazingbrchemistry takes place in the leaves of trees during the warm growing season.

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The green chlorophyll in the leavesbrabsorbs sunlight energy and transforms carbon dioxide and water intobrcarbohydrates for the tree’s growth. With the reduced daylight and temperaturesbrof the fall season, the leaves stop their food-making process, and thebrchlorophyll breaks down, which results in the green color fading away. Thisbrallows the red, yellow and orange colors to become visible and produce thebrcolors of fall season.

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Now there is more to this amazingbrstory. As the leaves are changing color, another change is taking place as abrlayer of cells develops where the stem of the leaf is attached to the tree.brThis growth of a cork-like material eventually severs the leaf from the treebrand seals the wound where the leaf stem was attached. This occurs so tree sapbrdoes not leak out. The leaf falls off or blows off the tree.

brbrThis is tree survival; thebrtree cannot afford to support the leaf system during the winter months. Whenbryou think about the story of the fall colors it is an incredible adaptation tobrthe coming season. (Helmick is a Serve Daily contributor.)

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