Weather Wise: Fall Leaves

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Helena is the perfect picture for fall right now, with trees across the city changing color from green to beautiful reds, yellows and oranges. In this week's Weather Wise Beartooth NBC's Kelley Smith talks with an arborist about tree life cycle during the autumn season.

Cooler temperatures and shorter days mark the fall season.  Helena City Arborist, Jason Herberger says it's time for trees to be set ablaze with gorgeous red, yellow and orange coloring.  Herberger says fall is the time of year when those colors show up, but they're part of the leaf and present all the time.

"You just can't see them because they're covered by the chlorophyll and with the shorter days, less light, photosynthesis is slowing down, the trees uses up that green chlorophyll and then the other colors pop out.”

Another seasonal sight, residents can also see fallen leaves in gutters, on the sides of the street, or scattered across yards.

Herberger says scientists know when a tree sheds its leaves, it doesn’t need them, but they aren't quite clear on why leaves fall off.

"The reason why leaves fall off is kind of debatable. They're studying it and there's different theories as to why a tree would lose it's leaves.”

He says tree's individual life cycles add to the debate, since some deciduous trees don’t lose they're leaves in the winter, and some conifers drop their needles.

"Nature has an exception to every rule."

So next time you're outside and look at a tree, you can ponder the reason it's losing, or keeping its leaves.

And even though it's a bit of a mystery one thing is clear, you're a little more Weather Wise.


Story by Kelley Smith, Beartooth NBC.
Sponsored by Collision Pro
Copyright ©2013 Beartooth Communications Company. All Rights Reserved.


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Weather Wise, Fall Leaves, tree life cycle, chlorophyll, Helena City Arborist Jason Herberger

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