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It’s fall - but my leaves never turned colors before falling to the ground

It’s fall, but my leaves never turned colors before falling to the ground

Posted on: October 17th, 2018

Colorado homeowners and business are noticing an interesting phenomenon occurring this fall.

Many trees seem to be retaining their green pigmented leaves, rather than turning beautiful shades of red, orange and yellow.

But what’s more interesting is the fact that those green leaves will just drop—some in one day—leaving the tree bare and ready for dormancy.

So, what’s going on?

Though fall officially arrived on September 22, you’d never know it. Much of the state saw temperatures in the 80s and 90s through much of the month and into early October.

These unseasonably warm temperatures confused many deciduous trees.

Normally trees begin to prepare themselves for winter dormancy by stopping the production of chlorophyll (which enables the leaves to remain green and vibrant) as the temperatures grow colder.

But as temperatures held steady in the 80s and 90s, some trees continued to produce chlorophyll rather than enter the process of abscission, where the leaves are actively cut-off of the tree by specialized cells.

At the start of abscission, trees will begin to reabsorb valuable nutrients from the leaves and store them in the roots for use during the cold winter months. This is why the leaves turn beautiful shades of red, orange and yellow before falling to the ground.

Why no color?

But come the second week of October, temperatures went from the 80s and 90s to the 20s and 30s. That drop in temperature signaled to many green-leaf trees that they needed to start the process of abscission—and fast!

Within a day, trees that were full and vibrant green shed their leaves out of fear that they wouldn’t have enough stored energy to sustain the winter.

So, while it might see odd that your trees are just dropping their green leaves without changing colors, your tree is doing what it always does—taking care of itself.

For more information or questions on your trees health, contact SavATree today.


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