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Fall Foliage in Full Effect

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

(Photo)
Diane Dierks photo

Fall foliage in central Indiana is expected to reach peak color intensity this weekend, according to the Department of Natural Resources.

By DIANE DIERKS

cddierks@yahoo.com

Tourists flock to our area each October to not only celebrate the covered bridges, but to witness the vibrant color palette that sweeps across the trees of Indiana. Maple trees display shades ranging from pastel orange to brilliant red, while Ash trees turn bronze and yellow, and Dogwood trees emit a deep purple hue.

According to the Department of Natural Resources, this year's fall foliage can best be described as variable. Instead of trees reaching peak color intensity at the same time, trees in the same geographical location are peaking at different stages - some are still green, while others have peaked and some have dropped their leaves. Fall foliage is most brilliant when trees peak at the same time.

What causes leaves to change color? A process known as senescence, according to "A Moment of Science" library. Senescence occurs when trees prepare for winter by recycling nutrients from leaves back into the root system. As trees enter the dormancy period, chlorophyll production is reduced and leaves loose their green color. During this time, other chemicals such as, xanthophylls and carotinoids, cause leaves to take on the yellow, red and orange colors of autumn.

The Department of Natural Resources predicts trees in central Indiana will reach peak color intensity this weekend. If you would like to listen to the DNR's fall foliage report, call (317)-232-4002. You can also view the changing fall foliage of Indiana state parks on the Internet at www.in.gov/enjoyindiana.



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