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What Causes Leaves to Change Color?

Forget leafing through your old science book. Here's a quick article to explain why leaves change color.

We all know that leaves change their colors in the fall, making that time of year a favorite for its spectacular colors. But what causes the leaves to turn? Read on .

Seasonal Changes

In autumn, the days get shorter and the temperatures get cooler. The sun doesn’t warm the leaves as directly or intensely as it did during spring and summer. In these shorter, cooler days, the process of making food within the leaves ceases. As this occurs, the leaves use the food they’ve stored throughout the summer. This causes the leaves’ green pigment to become less dominant, and gives other colors an opportunity to be displayed.

Weather Conditions

Weather affects both the leaves’ color intensity and its duration. Ideal conditions for spectacular coloring are a warm, dry summer followed by a rainy autumn. In autumn, warm, sunny days with cool nights trigger brilliant color formations. An early frost lessens the intensity of red. Rainy or overcast days intensify the brilliancy of color. A cool, clear day is always best for viewing.

This article was published by the staff at Farmers' Almanac. Interested in becoming a guest author? Contact us to let us know!

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Im just here to see why leaves change in the fall


I am trying to determin if Kentucky is part of the Northeast map, or of the Southeast mapping of information. As when I am looking at the listing of each I am not seeing Kentucky listed? I have family that says they will be moving to Kentucky and would like to be able to follow their weather changes and when they might later be getting snow!?

Jaime McLeod

Kentucky is part of our Zone 2 weather forecasting region.


I look forward to the recipes, and the variety of information in general. Farmers Almanac has always been interesting, I recall reading my grandfathers copy. It’s even better now having the convenience on my PC. Thank you .


Thanks Nora!

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