Ever wonder why leaves really change color each fall?
We checked in with a real “fall guy,” Appalachian State University Biology professor, Howard Neufeld, who has been studying fall color for much of his career, to get the answer. His scientific interest in what occurs inside a leaf has naturally progressed to what shows outside, and when. Neufeld‘s research and sociability have made him a go-to guy for fall color science and forecasting. So what does he say about why leaves change color? What signals them to change?
Inside A Leaf
The vivid, often simple colors on the outside are the products of the complex chemistry of growth inside a leaf. Take the yellows and oranges, for example—the dominant colors of aspen, ash, birch, beech, hickories, maples, some oaks, tulip poplar, and sassafras—generally, these colors come from compounds called carotenoids (also responsible for the color of carrots) which are present…
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Once it’s had a few weeks of strong growth, it is time to cut it back. I plan to show it in our club’s show in late May, so in late April, it was cut back so it would have a chance to soften by show time.
Tosho start a little later, and grow pretty vigorously. To get this one back in shape, easily 60% if the foliage was removed, and it will be right back again in 6 weeks. They love summer heat and plenty of water.