October 31, 2011
Like all the seasons, fall has it's secrets. There is a lot to know about this crisp and festive time of year so we've gathered up some fun fall facts and trivia for you.
Fall facts and trivia are great for sharing with friends, engaging coworkers, or even impressing a date ;)
So dive right in and learn what you can about the autumnal equinox and just why leaves turn the colors they do. Enjoy!
Fun Fall Trivia and Facts
Trees take water from the ground through their roots & take carbon dioxide from the air. They also use the energy from sunlight to produce sugar which together is called photosynthesis.
Because of its wide verity of trees, the Eastern United States, especially the North Eastern U.S., is one of the best places in the world for viewing fall colors.
Bright red & purple colors come from anthocyanin (an-thuh-'si-uh-nuhn) pigments, like in maple leaves, are formed from trapped glucose.
Brown colors come from a waste product called tannin, orange colors comes from carotene ('kar-uh-teen) & the yellows from xanthophyll ('zan-thuh-fil)
The leave colors red, yellow & brown are in the leaves all year long & only become exposed when the green chlorophyll disappears in the fall.
Mulching fall leaves where they fall lets them decompose so that they can release their minerals back to the underlying soil.
Maples, Oaks, Elms, Birch & Ash trees are just a few of the trees that give spectacular colors during the Autumn season.
Fall colors are best when late summer is dry & autumn has bright sunny days & cool nights below 40 °F.
Fall days become shorter & many plants stop making food. That is when the green chlorophyll starts to disappear from the leaves.
Most leaves fall from trees because the ends of the branch are sealed off near the leaf stem to protect the tree through the long winter months.
Composting fall leaves is an excellent way to improve yard & garden soils. Mixing green & brown materials together is the basic rule.
An acre of trees can grow 4,000 pounds of wood in a year, using 5,880 pounds of carbon dioxide & giving off 4,280 pounds of oxygen in the process.
Credit to Looking for Adventure.
- Leaves of some trees such as birches, tulip poplars, redbud and hickory, are always yellow in the fall, never red.
- The fall leaves of a few trees, including sugar maple, dogwood, sweet gum, black gum and sourwood, are usually red but may also be yellow.
- Unlike the bright colors of flowers, which attract pollinators, or the bright "Warning Colors" of many kinds of animals, the bright colors of fall foliage are a byproduct of chemical changes as the trees start to go dormant. These colors have no apparent biological function or significance.
- The most intense of fall color occurs in in areas such as New England, with almost pure stands of a few types of trees, such as maples and birches, that all turn color at the same time during the short fall season.
- The most varied fall color, as well as the longest lasting, occurs in areas such as the southern Appalachians, where a dozen or more kinds of trees may change color at slightly different times over the longer fall season.
- The change in day length (photoperiod) that causes the chemical changes in the trees leading to the bright colors starts June 21, the longest day of the year, as the sun starts to move south and the days become shorter.
- Leaves have just as much yellow pigment (xanthophyll) in July when they are green as they do in October when they are yellow. In July the darker green pigment (chlorophyll) masks the yellow color.
- Evergreen trees may shed their older leaves, which often turn bright yellow, in spring rather than fall, but they never drop all their leaves at one time, thus staying green all year.
- The leathery evergreen leaves of rhododendron are shed individually from time to time over several years; it is not uncommon to find individual rhododendron leaves that have been on a plant for five or six years that are still green, healthy and functional.
- Bright sunlight is essential for the production of the red (anthocyanin) pigment in the fall leaves: if a black mask is placed on part of a leaf before it turns red, the part of the leaf under the mask will turn yellow while the exposed part will turn red.
occurs twice a year, when the tilt of the Earth's axis is inclined neither away from nor towards the Sun, the center of the Sun being in the same plane as the Earth's equator. The term equinox
can also be used in a broader sense, meaning the date when such a passage happens. The name "equinox" is derived from the Latin aequus
(equal) and nox
(night), because around the equinox, the night and day have approximately equal length.
At an equinox, the Sun is at one of two opposite points on the celestial sphere where the celestial equator (i.e. declination 0) and ecliptic intersect. These points of intersection are called equinoctial points:
classically, the vernal point
and the autumnal point
. By extension, the term equinox
may denote an equinoctial point.
An equinox happens each year at two specific moments in time (rather than two whole days), when there is a location (the subsolar point) on the Earth's equator, where the center of the Sun can be observed to be vertically overhead, occurring around March 20/21 and September 22/23 each year.
Although the word equinox
is often understood to mean "equal [day and] night," this is not strictly true. For most locations on earth, there are two distinct identifiable days per year when the length of day and night are closest to being equal; those days are referred to as the "equiluxes" to distinguish them from the equinoxes. Equinoxes are points in time, but equiluxes are days. By convention, equiluxes are the days where sunrise and sunset are closest to being exactly 12 hours apart.