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Autumn colour - how does it work 
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Enthusiastic Gardner
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Joined: Thu Sep 02, 2010 10:58 pm
Posts: 121
Location: Bywong NSW
Post Autumn colour - how does it work
There is such beautiful colour out at the moment. For years I have been wondering why the same tree appears in different colours. For example - my favourite - Chinese pistascia (sp?) - at the moment, some trees are electric pink, some yellow and pink, others red and mine is all green with a bit of red to one side.

Has it got something to do location in reference to the sun, soil conditions? Generally my plants all seem to develop well after what I see in Canberra. Another example - my claret ash is orange and yellow underneath a purple tinge. Other claret ashes in Bungendore have this multicolour appearance whereas Canberra most are all purple. Is it elevation?

:hmm

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Sharyn
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Tue Apr 24, 2012 10:15 am
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Joined: Fri May 14, 2010 12:40 am
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Location: Canberra
Post Re: Autumn colour - how does it work
Leaves have a pigment called chlorophyll that is responsible for producing the sugars that feed the tree, which also gives them the green colour. The chlorophyll breaks down over time, and during the growing season is replaced, but coming onto winter, as a water conservation measure, a cork layer forms at the base of each leaf and stops water and mineral intake from the tree to the leaf. The chlorophyll breaks down, the breakdown products are colourless, and that allows the other pigments like beta carotine (the orange pigment in carrots) to show through.

Colour variation in a single tree is because of the different rate at which leaves cork over. As for variation in different trees and different spots :hmm Not a clue, sorry!


Tue Apr 24, 2012 8:55 pm
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Enthusiastic Gardner
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Joined: Thu Sep 02, 2010 10:58 pm
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Location: Bywong NSW
Post Re: Autumn colour - how does it work
Interesting. I didn't know that about the cork. thanks

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Sharyn
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Tue Apr 24, 2012 10:56 pm
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Green Thumb
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Joined: Wed Sep 29, 2010 11:39 am
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Location: SE Melbourne
Post Re: Autumn colour - how does it work
I have heard that the tree draws down all the nutrient from the leaves to store for spring growth with the same result. Perhaps for different trees in different areas there can be small genetic differences in the same species - like how we have different coloured hair. Or a slightly different makeup of the soil affecting what the tree takes up that affects the leaf colour. Dunno. Good question.

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Wed Apr 25, 2012 11:08 am
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Regular Gardner

Joined: Wed Oct 05, 2011 12:33 am
Posts: 112
Location: Perth WA
Post Re: Autumn colour - how does it work
How about timing? My liquidamber was still lush and green when 4 trees no more than 100 metres down the road had coloured almost completely. The marvels of nature will have us forever wondering??!

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Fri Apr 27, 2012 6:18 pm
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Joined: Sat May 15, 2010 1:37 pm
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Location: Goulburn
Post Re: Autumn colour - how does it work
Around my place is mainly Gum trees which do nothing more than drop their acid filled rubbish onto my arden and into my gutters :(

But just up the road are some most vibrantly coloured trees turning as the weather cools.

I had heard that the more vibrant colours alsoo deoended on a greater temperature change as well??

B

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Fri Apr 27, 2012 8:07 pm
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