Storing Health: Why Leaves Change Color

September 25, 2013

“The thing about trees is that they know what to do.  When a leaf loses its color, it’s not because its time is up and it’s dying, it’s because the tree is taking back into itself the nutrients the leaf’s been holding in reserve for it, out there on the twig, and why leaves change color in autumn is because the tree is preparing for winter, it’s filling itself with its own stored health so it can withstand the season.  Then, clever tree, it literally pushes the used leaf off with the growth that’s coming behind it.  But because that growth has to protect itself through winter too, the tree fills the little wound in its branch or twig where the leaf was with a protective corky stuff that seals it against cold and bacteria.  Otherwise every leaf lost would be an open wound on a tree and a single tree would be covered in thousands of little wounds.”
— Ali Smith, Artful

Oak leaves beginning to change color

Oak leaves beginning to change color

Watercolor sketch of oak leaves

Watercolor sketch of oak leaves

 

 

4 Responses to “Storing Health: Why Leaves Change Color”

  1. Shirley Says:

    I did not know that about leaves changing color, always a learning experience on your blog

  2. camilla wells paynter Says:

    Beautiful! It is really beginning to feel like fall. I appreciate how you choose to follow the seasons in your posts, and the oak leaves say it!


  3. Love this idea of the trees storing health.

  4. Chris Says:

    Trees are brilliant, arn’t they? Love your sketch of the oak leaves….they always remind me of hands! I took a walk in Wright’s Park last week…it has the most beautiful, gigantic oak tree I have ever seen!


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