Why do leaves change color in the fall?

Updated February 21, 2017 | Factmonster Staff

Why do leaves change color in the fall?

One of the sure signs of fall (besides the beginning of a new school year) is the change in color of leaves from green to bright yellow, orange and red. Trees are sort of like bears—they store up food during the spring and summer and then rest for the winter. Over the spring and summer, trees use a process called photosynthesis to make food and energy. A green pigment called chlorophyll makes photosynthesis happen. During the fall and winter, there isn’t enough light or water for photosynthesis to occur, so the chlorophyll begins to fade way. As the green disappears, the other colors begin to emerge. These colors were present in the leaves all along, but they were dominated by the chlorophyll

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