Homeowners are becoming more aware of how beneficial having trees and plants in their property is. They provide shade, fresher breeze, cooler environment, and relaxing sight. This is why more and more people, both in residential and commercial areas, are hiring services like tree service Memphis to take a step forward to having a healthier environment and pretty landscape. But this article will focus on one thing that we all notice during fall: the color pigmentation of the leaves. We will share with you the science behind the fall foliage. 

The following explicate the pigments involved in the fall foliage to understand the science and the cause of it. 



This is considered to be the most stable pigment in tree leaves. This what provides their leaves the brown color especially when the leaves die.  



This pigment is what causes the red color of the leaves that we see in some trees during fall. This pigment is oftentimes seen on the upper layer of the leaves and can sometimes overpower the other pigments when they are very concentrated. This pigment is also produced in the trees in late autumn and how strong the pigment also depends on the weather as well as the temperature. The temperature can affect the production of the pigment. For instance, most of these pigments are produced during cool nights and sunny days, between 45 degrees Fahrenheit and 32 degrees Fahrenheit. Only certain trees produce this pigment so red leaves are not always visible to all trees. 


Xanthophyll and Carotene 

Xanthophyll is a pigment that makes the leaves appear yellow and the carotene pigment makes the leaves orange. These pigments are not just produced to make some pretty colors during fall but they also play an important role in photosynthesis and sugar production. Also, these pigments are relatively stable so they are oftentimes seen in most species of trees during fall.  



This pigment is what provides the most common color for leaves: green. It also plays a starring role in the process of photosynthesis to produce sugar by obtaining light from the sun. These pigments fade when the weather changes, and so, the leaves turn from green to other colors like orange, yellow, and red.  


The influences in the environment also affect the fall foliage that you notice in trees the following influences include: 

  • Sun – the trees that are most exposed to sun and to have intense foliage color during fall 
  • Stress – when the color appears before the cool temperature sets in, this is a sign of tree stress 
  • Location – the colors show up in low lying areas where cold air is present at night 
  • Rain – when the trees experience a lot of rain, this keeps the Chlorophyll pigment stay even after the fall season has set 
  • Weather – longer droughts lead to premature leaf browning and leaf loss, while mild dry spells increase the production of red pigments.  


As you can see, there are several factors that affect the production of the pigments which provide the color for the leaves you see during fall. These pigments are what make the fall produce pretty sightings and landscape.