Archive for Wednesday, October 15, 2003

Brilliant colors in Baldwin

October 15, 2003

The trees seem to have good timing.

Baker University biology professor Roger Boyd expects a majority of the trees in and around Baldwin to be at their peak colors of red, orange and yellow this weekend -- just in time for Maple Leaf Festival.

"The Sugar Maples will be prime this week," he said.

But Boyd didn't always think that was going to be the case. He said this summer's dry conditions left some trees without many leaves. He said some trees started shedding leaves because of the lack of moisture.

"But I think the rain we had the first of September halted leaf drop," he said.

The recent cooler temperatures and shorter days, he said, have triggered trees, like the Sugar Maple, to start breaking down chlorophyll. Chlorophyll is what gives leaves their green color. When the chlorophyll is broken down, the remaining pigments give the leaves their yellow and orange colors. Other colors, like reds and purples, are also allowed to develop depending on weather conditions.

Boyd said a few trees in the area have already peaked in color and have lost most of their leaves, but a majority of Baldwin's trees should be brilliant in color for the festival this weekend.

"They should be like that both in town as well as outside of town," he said.

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