(WMC) - As we progress through the fall seasons, we will begin to see the leaves on the trees start to change color and eventually fall.
There are several factors, such as sunlight, weather, and other natural processes that cause the leaves to change to those vibrant colors we are used to seeing.
Leaves create chlorophyll, which stores energy or "food" from the sun. Chlorophyll is what gives leaves their green color.
With our days growing shorter as we push towards winter, the trees store less and less chlorophyll, thus causing it to begin to break down.
That breakdown is what causes the leaves to change color to the reds, purples, oranges, and yellows we see each fall.
In the south, we do keep some trees green, those are considered evergreen, meaning the leaves stay on the tree year-round. Most of the conifers family, such as pines, spruces, firs, hemlocks or cedars, are evergreen across the country.
What trees lose their leaves and change color? Those trees include cypress, maple, tupelo, aspen, sweetgum and more.
What about the weather, how can that change the leaves on the trees? Well, temperature, light and water supply all have an influence on the duration and intensity of fall color.
When we see freezing temperatures, it will help some trees, such as maple, produce bright red colors. On the flip side, an early frost will weaken that bright color. When we see rainy days or cloudy ones, it tends to increase the intensity of fall colors.
The best time to see the autumn color would be a clear, dry and cool but not freezing day.
Here in the Mid-South, we are starting to see some leaves change but the peak time for our region will be late October into early November and should last a few weeks.