We’re pretty sure you already know this, but leaves are important for trees. They provide food for the tree using photosynthesis. Through this process, they convert energy from sunlight into sugars and starches that the tree then uses for food. How do they do this? Well, leaves have an important chemical inside of them called chlorophyll. This not only gives them their green color; it is what allows them to perform photosynthesis.
Leaves are also great at keeping you cool by providing shade. They fill in the spaces between branches to make a canopy or an umbrella over the tree. Leaves make trees a good home for animals like birds, squirrels and bugs. They provide them with shelter, a place to hide and even food.
Why do leaves change colors?
Different chemicals found in leaves are what cause them to change colors in the fall. We discussed the fact that chlorophyll gives leaves their green color and helps them make food. When the weather gets cooler and the sun doesn’t shine for as long during the day as it once did, the leaves and the tree know that it’s time to start storing up food for the winter. When that happens, the chlorophyll starts to break down and the food that the leaves have been making gets stored inside the tree instead of the tree. With the chlorophyll gone, the leaves begin to change color. The colors you see were there all along. It’s just that you couldn’t see them when the chlorophyll was active.
Why do leaves fall off trees?
As the weather gets cooler and the days get shorter in the fall, trees start to prepare for the winter. Trees use sunlight to make a special layer or seal between each leaf and the branch it’s connected to. The leaves then start to fall from the trees, leaving the branches protected from the cold. They can also store up food to keep the tree nourished during the winter. Leaves have water in their cells so they can’t survive freezing temperatures. When the weather gets cold, the leaves would die. This way, they fall to the ground and provide nutrients for the ground surrounding the tree, helping to prepare for more growth come spring and creating a layer that helps the ground absorb water.
We know that the leaves will regrow in the spring and help feed the tree again. Leaves provide a beautiful cycle ensuring nourishment for the tree all year round. They are not only beautiful but functional. We love leaves and want yours to remain healthy. Give us a call at 512-341-8888 if you need any help with your trees or leaves.