Conservation Connection – What can we expect in fall color changes?

Many of us wait for the brilliant hues of autumn. But what is the outlook for fall color in the St. Louis area this year? And why do those changes occur? Conservation Department Urban Forester Mark Grueber visits KPLR 11 News at Noon to give some insights.

Q. What causes the leaves to change color this time of year?
• Shortening days and cool nights mean less food production in leaves
• Green chlorophyll breaks down revealing yellows and oranges hidden in the leaves
• Other colors like red and purple created when sugars are created on sunny days
• Sugars are trapped in the leaves during cool nights and chemical changes cause the colors

Q. Any special conditions or challenges that might affect the fall color outlook this year?
• So far tree colors are not looking great this year
• Suspect low moisture due to limited rainfall has had a negative impact
• Not been having the warm day/cool night cycles that trigger color changes

Q. Where can our viewers find out more about where to go to see the best show?
• MDC website maintains a fall color update and has more information, including a fall color map of Missouri
• Go to mdc.mo.gov and search keywords 'fall color'
• Regardless of color, still a great time to get out and hike some trails, take a bike ride, or go for a scenic drive!