September and October brings the fall colors to life in Greer. Experience firsthand, the artwork of Mother nature as she changes the leaves of the aspen trees. It is the best Fall colors in all of Arizona. Most people say our fall colors are comparable to Colorado and New England.
The beauty of fall colors will take your breath away!
What Makes Leaves Turn Colors?
The leaves on aspen trees do not really “turn” colors. They just lose their green. Leaves actually begin to prepare for autumn in the spring. At the base of each leaf is a layer of cells called the “abscission” or separation layer. All summer, small tubes pass through the abscission to carry water into the leaf. The leaf uses this water with carbon dioxide, sunlight and chlorophyll to produce food. This process is called photosynthesis.
The word photosynthesis means “putting together with light.” The food, or “sugar,” is carried back out through the tubes in the abscission into the tree. In the fall, the cells of this abscission layer begin to swell and form a cork-like material, reducing and finally cutting off flow between the leaf (leaves) and the rest of the tree. Also, because of cool nights, the sugar still produced in the bright fall sun is not readily transported from the leaves to the stems and roots. The less sunlight (shorter days at the end of summer, beginning of autumn), the less green chlorophyll is produced, and is, in fact, broken down.
This is when you begin to see the yellow xanthophyll and orange carotene that are present in the leaf all year around but are covered by the green chlorophyll. No one is sure what purpose these other elements serve, but scientists believe they also have something to do with photosynthesis. Certain species of deciduous trees will begin, at this time of warm days and cool nights, to produce anthocyanins. Anthocyanins are the reds and purples and are produced only in autumn; they are not present in the leaves all year.
During this dormant period, the aspen trees use the reserves they have stored up over the summer to stay alive. They need this time to take a rest from producing.