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September 2018

Though the official start of fall isn’t for a couple more weeks, the distinct chill in air tells us autumn is well on its way. The Adirondacks offer some of most beautiful scenic views in the country. As the trees shift from green to vibrant shades of red, yellow, and orange, we flock to the outdoors to take in this seasonal wonder. But what is the science behind the change?

During spring and summer months, leaves remain green because they are constantly creating chlorophyll, which, as you may remember from biology class, is also green in color. Chlorophyll is the key component in a plant’s ability to turn sunlight into glucose, which then feeds the tree.

As fall approaches, cooler temperatures and shortened days cause the leaves to slow their rate of food production and the chlorophyll deteriorates. As it breaks down, the green color fades away allowing the yellow, red and orange hues that are present underneath to slowly begin to show. Leaf-peeping season has begun!

The intensity of color and duration of fall foliage can be influenced by many environmental factors, including temperature, light, and water availability. Red coloration is more often associated with cooler temperatures just above freezing, and rain tends to increase color intensity in general. Too much rain or freezing temps, on the other hand, and the process slows or grinds to a halt.

Looking for a new spot to experience fall foliage in the Adirondacks? Stop by our Three Sisters Preserve in Wilmington. It offers an abundance of beech trees that begin to glow with hues of yellow and orange this time of year. The property features an easy 1.5 mile trail perfect for a short hike or bike ride. The trailhead and parking area is at the top of Quaker Mt. Road in Wilmington. Email us for directions. We hope to see you out there!