FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WFFT) — As fall continues to move into the region, more leaves are going to change colors.
But what's the science behind it? And how do the leaves pick the color that they are going to change to?
When the cooler temperatures arrive, it breaks down the chlorophyll in trees.
Sugars are then created during the warm, sunny days.
Some sugars are trapped in the leaf's stem and the branch during cool, but not freezing nights.
The sugars that do escape act like a kind of antifreeze that protects the tree during the winter.
That leaves behind other chemicals, which cause a leaf's color to change.
When chlorophyll is left behind, then leaves stay green.
If chlorophyll breaks down and xanthophyll is left behind, then the leaves will be yellow.
Leaves turn orange when carotene is left behind after the chlorophyll breaks down.
Red leaves occur when anthocyanin is left behind.
When anthocyanin and chlorophyll are both left behind, then the leaf turns brown.
Not all leaves change color though.
Needles on evergreen trees, like pine, spruce, and fir trees, have evolved over time to stay on those trees year-round.
Bright colors are more likely to happen when the end of the summer is dry and fall has sunny days and cool nights.
But a drought is one of the main factors that could cause a tree to go dormant for winter earlier than expected.
Which means the leaves would fall off sooner or be browner than usual.
While rainy and overcast days actually increase the intensity of fall colors.