LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (KTHV) - Ever wonder why the leaves change color before falling? In this week's Science with Sarah, the associate director of Arkansas Forest Resources Center, Tamera Walkingstick led a hike up Pinnacle Mountain to learn about fall foliage.
The season's brilliant colors are due to the process of photosynthesis; when trees take sunlight, carbon dioxide, and water to sustain life. When days get shorter after the Autumnal Equinox, trees have less time to capture sunlight, and produce chlorophyll. Chlorophyll is the substance that keeps leaves green, but when it's not as abundant, other colors become apparent.
CHECK IT: State-by-State Guide to Fall Colors (http://on.kthv.com/18HbAAZ)
INTERACTIVE MAP: Fall Foliage in the states (http://on.kthv.com/1gfs6B0)
The colors of leaves mostly depend on the species of the tree. For instance, the sweet gum tree has a higher sugar content, so a deeper red is typically found on the star-shaped leaves.
The peak of fall's glorious color ends around the average first frost. Once the leaves get heavy with ice, the stem severs from the fig, and the leaves fall. Over the winter, trees become dormant until the next spring brings more sunshine and rain showers to revive the stems back to life!
NOAA: Cool Autumn Weather Reveals Nature's True Hues (http://on.kthv.com/1h44ron)
If you have a science question that has you stumped, pass it along to Sarah at firstname.lastname@example.org . Also, don't forget to upload your fall color pictures to our website, or use the hash tag #THV11 on instagram or twitter.