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Fall colors: what makes them beautiful...or not in any given year?

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In our area a couple years ago, there was a terrible drought and it was the most gorgeous autumn that I can remember. This year, the weather has been fairly normal--a little dry and it looks like it's going to be dull. The dogwoods have turned and instead of a bright burgundy, they're a dull color of some cross between burgundy and brown. Other leaves have started to turn, but most have brown edges on the colored leaves, even as the rest of the tree is green. I'm bummed. Any hope for things to brighten up or is this just going to be a dull autumn?

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I thought it had something to do with temperatures? I think I heard at some point that the onset of cold temps makes the chlorophyll pull out of the leaves quickly, leaving the other colors behind. Otherwise, the leaves just die and lose all their colors. Was it colder at night that year than it is this year? Of course I don't live in an area that actually has Fall, so I don't know too much about it. Our leaves get duller and duller all winter, and finally fall out when the Spring growth pushes them out. So sad.... I always feel sorry for myself this time of year, when everybody but me gets to see a change of seasons. :D

Edited by bonniebeth4
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I had to look this up when I was Nature Study Volunteer when my kids were in private school --


It has to do with lots of rainfall and lack of rainfall and if I recall correctly, the amount of sugar or something in the leaf - the level of sugar (I am going to have to go and look this up) determines the color and the level of sugar is determined by rain or lack thereof....or I could have just imagined the entire thing in a dream and none of it is even close to being accurate.:tongue_smilie:

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