Be the most informed person in the room with Newsy's free e-newsletter

View our privacy policy: http://www.newsy.com/privacy/

What Makes Leaves Change Color Every Fall?

The reds and oranges of fall leaves show up when there's less sunlight to take advantage of.
SMS

You know it's fall when the leaves start to turn. But what causes this riot of color?

Deciduous leaves have four pigments year-round: green, yellow, orange and red.

Most of the time, they're green. The color comes from chlorophyll, which the trees use to photosynthesize. 

SEE MORE: Right Before Cold And Flu Season, And Florida's Oranges Are Dying

In fall, days are shorter. With less sunlight, chlorophyll becomes less important, and the leaves make less of it. The other colors get their chance to show.

When it happens depends on how cold it gets. Trees will change their colors in cooler weather. When it gets really cold, the leaves just fall off.

Featured Stories
The Capitol

How Do You Even Plan An Inauguration?

Barack Obama is sworn in.

In The Past, Presidential Inauguration Addresses Have Been About Hope

Joaquín "El Chapo" Guzmán

Mexican Drug Lord 'El Chapo' Extradited To US

Want to see more stories like this?
Like Newsy on Facebook for More Nature Coverage