Thursday, September 30, 2010

Come to Powell Lake for Fall Foliage

Many people go east on expensive fall foliage trips. That region is well known for its spectacular trees in hues of yellow, orange, red, purple and brown. Just like the Atlantic Provinces, the broadleaf trees surrounding Powell Lake start to turn color in late September through October. Right in front of our cabin, Goat Island has a superb display of maples, dogwoods and alders. The swath of glorious color paints up the hillsides through stream carved gullies and across expose rocky slopes.

Have you ever wondered how this colourful display occurs? Chlorophyll, which is the pigment that gives leaves their green color, gets energy from sunlight to transform carbon dioxide and water into carbohydrates (sugars and starch). Leaves also have yellow to orange pigments called carotenes and xanthophylls, but these colors are overpowered by chlorophyll most of the year. But when fall arrives, things change.

Fall days are noticeably shorter and trees start getting ready for winter. The presence of chlorophyll, and its green color, begins to diminish. This allows the yellow and orange colors to become more dominant. The bright reds and purples are created when glucose (sugars) are trapped in the leaves after photosynthesis stops. Bright sunny days and cool nights in autumn cause leaves to turn the glucose into a red to purple color. The brown color is made from wastes left behind in the leaves.

As fall moves towards winter, leaves begin to fall. Where the stem of the leaf is attached to the tree there is a special layer of cells. This layer gradually breaks down until it can no longer support the weight of the leaf. When storm winds blow, the leaves fall to the ground. Trees become dormant and live off the food they have stored over the summer. Their stems, twigs, and buds are equipped to survive extreme cold until the following spring.

Fallen leaves are not wasted, at least in nature or by the composting gardener. They decompose and replenish the soil with nutrients. They become part of the thick humus layer of the forest floor. There they absorb rainfall and hold moisture. They also become food for organisms that are important to the forest ecosystem.

Here are some more resources of you would like more details:

Want a different place to experience colourful fall foliage? Come to Powell River in Coastal BC. The people are friendly, the resorts are uncrowded and the restaurants are great. The opportunities are limitless. You won’t be sorry you chose to head north rather than east. -- Margy

8 comments:

  1. You live in a beautiful part of the world. I have visited Vancouver twice, as my cousins live there, and I remember being driven around to see all sorts of beautiful sites.

    Fallen leaves decompose; however, I understand they make the soil acidic, so we have acidic soil where we live. Keeps the tomatoes and azalea happy.

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  2. Gorgeous pictures. I live in upstate NY and I love this time of year.

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  3. Not much fall color in Texas yet. Enjoyed the post and great photos.

    I really liked the Saltery Bay photos.

    Come visit anytime,
    Troy and Martha

    PS: Alaska Sunday, Hope, AK is posted.
    .

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  4. I clicked all of the pictures big to see if I could decide on the one I liked the best.I could not pick just one they are all so beautiful.

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  5. Beautiful shots. Lovely post. I keep explaining it to people, but they don't listen!
    I love this time of year. We are enjoying our forest!

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  6. Fabulous pictures as always, I love them,

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  7. Jenn - It is so nice to live in a place now that has seasons. Southern California only had two, hot and hotter with smog and smoggier. - Margy

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