The children are heading back to school the nights will start getting cooler and the fall colors in Branson will soon be upon us. We have had good rainfall during the growing season and the cool weathers predicted over the next month and a half should produce bright vibrant colors in the Ozark Mountain Hillsides. According to Kathy Mathews, associate professor of biology at Western Carolina University, One benefit of a wet summer is that rain is good for is extending the growing season, Mathews said, which could cause the trees to hold on to their leaves longer and possibly extend the fall color season.
As we move into cooler weather there is a good chance for some spectacular fall colors. If we receive a abundant amount of sunlight and low rain fall in September the trees will produce a beautiful show in Branson. Many people think the change in the leaves is due to the cold weather when in reality it is the daylight hours shorten and the trees begin producing less chlorophyll.
Here is how Vicki Frantz staff writer for accuweather.com described the process in a recent blog article:
As the tree grows throughout the spring and summer months, chlorophyll is constantly replaced in the leaves. The chlorophyll gives the leaves their green color. As the nights get longer in the early fall, the cells near the juncture of the leaf and stem divide rapidly but do not expand. This action of the cells form a layer called the abscission layer. The abscission layer, then blocks the transportation of materials from the leaf to the branch and from the roots to the leaves. As the chlorophyll is blocked from the leaves, it disappears completely from them. The lack of chlorophyll allows the yellow (xanthophylls) and orange (carotenoids) pigments to be visible. The red and purple pigments (anthocyanins) are manufactured from the sugars that are trapped in the leaf. These pigments in leaves are responsible for the vivid color changes in the fall.
Temperature, sunlight and soil moisture all play a role in how the leaves will look in the fall.
- Abundant sunlight and low temperatures after the abscission layer forms cause the chlorophyll to be destroyed more rapidly.
- Cool air (especially at night) with a lot of daytime sunshine promote the formation of more red and purple pigments.
- Freezing conditions destroy the leaf's ability to manufacture the red and purple pigments. Early frost will end the colorful foliage.
- Drought during the growing season can cause the abscission layer to form early and cause the leaves to drop before they change color.
- The best weather for brilliant fall foliage is a growing season with ample moisture followed by a dry, cool and sunny autumn with warm days and cool but frostless nights.
- Heavy wind or rain can cause the leaves to fall before they fully develop color.
Now you know the rest of the story…make sure you like Branson’s Best Reservations Facebook page so you can track the fall colors in Branson Missouri through our fall foliage meter