Tree Leaves, Stress and Premature Fall Colors



Premature Fall Colors Could Be Signs Of Tree Stress

In many parts of North America one of nature’s finest shows is the Fall foliage.

Color changing tree leaves make for a beautiful display, but early changes in leaf color can be a sign that your tree is stressed and is susceptible to insect and disease attack.

If the leaves on your trees seem to have gotten a jump start on Fall compared with those on similar trees in the area, then you might want to give us a call. We can identify any potential problems and offer possible solutions.

Premature colors can be an indication that a tree isn’t vigorous enough to withstand insects and disease organisms that may attack it, not to mention the usual changes that occur when the weather turns cold.

Occasionally only one or two limbs of the tree will show premature fall color. This could be a sign of a disease at work, weakening only the infected limbs. The more common situation is for the entire tree to exhibit premature fall coloration, which usually points to root related stress.

Tree leaves can be thought of as small factories containing raw materials, products and by-products, all in chemical form and some with color.

As the leaf is “abandoned” by the tree, the green chlorophyll—the dominant chemical found in most leaves—is broken down and “recycled,” leaving behind other-colored chemicals. Supply lines to the leaves also become clogged. If the major chemical remaining in the abandoned leaf is red, then the leaf turns red. If it’s yellow, then the leaf turns yellow, and so on.

The yearly variation in color intensity is due to varying weather conditions, which can affect the balance of chemicals and their composition in the leaves. Differing amounts of rainfall, sunlight, temperature, humidity and other factors may have an effect on how bright, how quickly and how long the leafing season will be in any given year.


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