I’m a sucker for some fall foliage. Call me basic, lame, boring, or whatever other derogatory word you intend to shame me with. I don’t care. Fall foliage is beautiful, and I’m always down to do some leaf peeping.
I was ecstatic when I learned that SmokyMountains.com has created an interactive map to predict fall foliage colors across the country.
I played around with it a bit, and I’m already starting to plan when I’m going to head up to New England and the Poconos this fall so I can see some peak colors.
You can check out the interactive map here, or by clicking the image below.
Keep reading to learn more about why leaves change colors.
Why Do Autumn Leaves Change Their Color?
Some consider it to be the most incredible time of the year. Gorgeous colors vibrantly encoring the end of summer as the trees put themselves to bed for the long sleep of winter. The Great Smoky Mountains floods with thousands upon thousands of annual visitors all hoping to achieve a breathtaking view of the beautiful renaissance of nature.
The Science Of It All
It all starts with photosynthesis. Leaves typically produce their vivid hues of green from spring through summer into early fall through the constant creation of Chlorophyll. As we all learned in 5th grade science, Chlorophyll is the key component in a plant’s ability to turn sunlight into glucose, which in turn feeds the trees. Many millions of these Chlorophyll cells saturate the leaves, ultimately making them appear green to the eye.
The Changing Colors
Chlorophyll is not the only player in the fall leaf-color game. Present in other leaves and trees are the compounds known as Carotenoids and Anthocyanins. As the Fall days begin to get shorter and shorter, the production of Chlorophyll slows to a halt, eventually giving way to the ‘true’ color of the leaf.