This time of year, the Rocky Mountains come alive with color. You’re probably aware that Vail’s most common leaf shedding species of tree, the Aspen tree, sports fall foliage in hues of yellows, reds, oranges and everything in between. Here are four things you might not have known about fall foliage, however:
- While Vail is full of sweet smelling pines, the ever-abundant Aspens are the belles of the fall. The fading of their heart-shaped green leaves to yellow begins in late August and usually concludes before November.
- As fall begins and the days start getting shorter, the trees receive less sunlight, which signals to them to begin getting ready for winter.
- As the trees begin their preparation to “sleep” through winter, they stop producing chlorophyll, the chemical that creates the green leaves of summer.
- While it may seem like leaves are changing color, there is actually as much yellow pigment in the leaves as there was in June; however, in the summer the green pigment overpowers the yellow. Beginning in the fall and throughout winter, there is not enough light or water for photosynthesis to occur, so trees simply live off the food they stored during the summer and the green chlorophyll disappears from their leaves.
Now that you know all there is to know about fall colors, head to Vail before they all disappear!