Don't Blow Leaves, Mow!

| 9/21/2016 10:29:00 AM

Tags: Lois Hoffman, autumn, fallen leaves, mulching,

Country MoonNo one can deny that one of the brighter aspects of autumn is the abundance of color. We who live in the northern states are blessed to have the changing of the seasons. I am always sad to see the current one go, but anxious for the next one to come. Best of these for me is autumn. I love the crisp days and nights, and especially the colorful autumn foliage.

I still think that leaves turning color in autumn should be one of the wonders of the world. Just saying. The process that causes this is pretty amazing. In a nutshell, leaves are nature’s food factories. Plants take water in through their roots and take carbon dioxide from the air. They then use sunlight to turn water and carbon dioxide into oxygen and glucose. They emit oxygen and use the glucose for food for energy for themselves.

Photosynthesis, which literally means “putting together with chlorophyll,” is this process, which plants do day after day. Chlorophyll is the green color in the leaves. The amount of light in a day is what triggers this whole process. During autumn, as the days get shorter, the plants “know” it is time to get ready for winter.

When there is not enough light or water for photosynthesis to occur, plants rest and live off the food they have stored. As they begin to shut down food-making, the chlorophyll disappears. As the green fades, the yellows and oranges appear. They have actually been there all along, but have been covered by the chlorophyll. Reds and purples are actually made in the fall after photosynthesis stops. The sunlight and cool nights cause the glucose to turn to the red color. Brown hues come from the waste left in the leaves.

Autumn leaves 

Sunny autumn days and cool nights give us this brilliant color show. However, after the show, leaves fall and then the chore starts of what to do with all the fallen leaves. I have always liked the job of raking leaves and burning them in the fall. There is just something about the smell of them. It’s a warm and fuzzy feeling.

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