Breakdown of fall foliage and changing leaf color

Updated: Oct. 17, 2019 at 7:16 PM CDT
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MANKATO, Minn. (KEYC) — As the leaves change with the seasons, some may be wondering why this happens.

The color change of the leaves is triggered by the change in the length of days, signaling the trees to take what nutrients they can from the leaves to hunker down for winter.

The length of the day also triggers the tree to stop producing chlorophyll, which is the compound that makes the leaves green, making the leaves show their true colors.

“The oranges and the yellows, they’re just always kind of there, covered up by the chlorophyll that’s producing the green color, now the reds, that’s another compound," said Ashley Steevens, a parks superintendent for the City of Mankato, "the reds and the purples, the trees that are producing those are actually producing another compound when the chlorophyll is no longer there.”

Steevens said the Mankato area was set up for a vibrant fall due to the moisture through the summer months and the fall colors will peak this weekend.

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