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Hi! I'm Autumn, a Leaf Turner! Leaf Turners help the leaves turn colors in the fall.

The leaves on trees do many important things. Special chemicals in the leaves turn sunlight into food. The most common chemical is called chlorophyll, which is what gives the leaves their green color in the summer. When temperatures go down in the autumn, different chemicals take over, and the leaves change colors.

Carotenoids give leaves their yellow and orange colors. The red and purple colors are caused by anthocyanins. These chemicals take over in the fall because they are better at capturing the light the sun gives off in the autumn.


Trees that lose their leaves in the winter are called deciduous trees. In the winter, there is not enough light for the tree's leaves to make very much food. Since the tree doesn't need to catch the light anymore, the leaves fall to the ground where they break down, or decay, and give nutrients back to the trees. Nutrients are like vitamins for trees.

Before the leaves drop for the winter, you can view the pretty autumn leaves, or foliage, all around you. Try to figure out which leaves are using chlorophyll (green leaves), which are using carotenoids (yellow and orange leaves), and which are using anthocyanins (red and purple leaves).

Very treely yours, Treeture

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Publication:American Forests
Article Type:Brief article
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Sep 22, 2009
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