This was my first visit to admire the leaves as they change colour at Batsford this Autumn, I plan to go a couple more times to follow these colourful displays.
What makes the leaves change colour ?
Deciduous trees do not need their leaves in winter as they become dormant and therefore no longer need to photosynthesise.
For plants to photosynthesise they need the green pigment, chlorophyll. As the days become shorter chlorophyll production slows and then eventually stops.
Any chlorophyll in the leaves is broken down so the green colour disappears. Other Pigments that are also in the leaves become apparent. These can be yellow, orange, gold , red and purple. Batsford’s website says that the colours are at the best mid Oct- early Nov.
Recipes of colour:-
Carotenoids and xanthophylls = yellow
The amount of chlorophyll left in a leaf and the proportions of these other pigments all add up to the colour of the leaves.
Anthrocyanin + carotenoids= Orange
A layer of corky cells form along the leaf stalk base, this restricts the movements of sugars out of the leaf. This trapped sugar is converted into anthocyanins making even more colour.
Some years Autumn colour is better than others.
Best colour years :-
Sunny dry Autumn days
Cold but not freezing at night
Looks like we are in for a colourful season 😀