Kentucky Fall Trees-Rebirth of Color in the Leaves

Wonderful information on the rebirth of color in the fall leaves and how this process is activated.

Oldham County Cooperative Extension Blog

Written by Billy Thomas, Extension Forester. Edited by Lauren State, Oldham County Extension Staff Assistant.

kentucky fall colors

Fall Tree Color in Kentucky

All summer they’ve remained hidden beneath a green cloak, but as fall continues, the parade of brilliant tree leaf colors will slowly put on a spectacular show across Kentucky.

The fall colors have been in leaves all along, but they were masked by chlorophyll, a green pigment that combines with sunlight to produce food for tree growth. It might surprise you to know that this rebirth of color is caused by fewer hours of daylight, not “Jack Frost.” A “chemical clock” activated by shorter days tells trees to shut down chlorophyll production in preparation for winter. Trees then use chlorophyll faster than it’s produced. This removes the green mask, and the brilliant fall color show begins.

Fall color typically peaks in mid-to-late October. Due to Kentucky’s diverse climate and…

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