Why Do Leaves Turn Different Colors?

Leaves are loaded with chlorophyll, which makes them green. But all green plants also carry a set of chemicals called carotenoids. On their own, these look yellow or orange – carotenoids give color to corn and carrots, for example – but they’re invisible beneath the chlorophyllic green of a leaf for most of the year.

In the fall, when the leaves are nearing the end of their life cycle, the chlorophyll breaks down, and the yellow-orange is revealed.

“The color of a leaf is subtractive, like crayons on a piece of paper,” says David Lee, formerly of Florida International University, who has studied leaf color since 1973.

Most trees have evolved to produce a different set of chemicals, called anthocyanins, when it’s bright and cold in autumn. These have a reddish tint and are responsible for the color of a blueberry. They’re also sometimes made in newly sprouting leaves, which explains their sometimes reddish tint. Where chlorophyll and anthocyanins coexist, the color of a leaf may run to bronze, as in ash trees. At high enough concentrations, anthocyanins will make a leaf look almost purple, as in Japanese maples.

More drab autumn colors form as leaves really die and complete the breakdown of the chloroplasts. When they’re all dried out, the pigments link up together into what Lee calls a “brownish gunk.”

Have a burning horticultural question you’d like us to answer, email Steve Fine, at steve@siglands.com.

This article originally appeared in the November 2013 issue of Popular Science.

 

What’s the Deal with Fall Turf Aeration?

Why does Signature Landscapes believe so strongly in lawn aeration?

After proper watering, Aerating is the single most important thing you can do for a healthy lawn. Aeration promotes root growth and reduces water usage by getting oxygen and H20 into the root zone. Aerated soil will endure drought stress, fill in bare spots faster and resist insect and disease attack too.

LEARN MORE >

Environmental ROI

Is your landscaping worth it?

Water and maintenance used to keep landscapes healthy don’t go down the drain

  • Just one average tree absorbs 26 lbs. of carbon dioxide from the air each year. That is enough to negate 11,000 miles of car emissions. (Hug your tree!)
  • Lawns act as a filter to purify water passing through the root zone. The front lawns of just eight houses provide the cooling effect of 70 tons of air conditioning. That’s amazing when you consider that the AC unit at the average home has a 3- or 4-ton capacity. (Love your lawn!)

Landscaping cuts energy costs

  • Carefully selected and placed trees around a home can cut energy costs as much as 25%.
  • Shading the AC unit can increase its effectiveness 10%.
  • Planting ground covers, shrubs and lawns reduces heat reflected off the ground and onto walls and windows. That helps cool the indoors and saves energy dollars.

Growing veggies is a healthy pastime that saves money.

  • Working in your garden 45 minutes burns off as many calories as 30 minutes of aerobics.
  • Weeding for an hour burns 300 calories.
  • The cash spent to grow a garden will return 7 to 10 times your initial investment in the value of your produce.  In other words, $50 spent on a garden will give you at least $350 worth of produce you would otherwise buy.  You won’t get that rate of return in your savings account.
  • There’s no produce more sustainable than what you grow yourself or more fresh than what you bring to the table within minutes of picking.  You also know where it was grown and how it was grown.  Those health benefits are priceless.

 

These great tips were brought to you by the Associated Landscape Contractors of Colorado

Calling All Tree Climbers!

 Tree Climber Needed

Signature Landscapes Tree Services is looking for a talented and motivated Tree Climber

Put your Tree Climbing skills to work at Signature Landscapes! Signature Landscapes is the largest landscape contractor in Northern Nevada and has a growing tree care division. We have the capability to perform many aspects of tree care and have significant experience to serve a wide range of customers.

Position Summary:
Climbers are responsible for working in and around trees to perform general tree care including pruning, cabling, bracing, and tree removals. Are you an ISA Certified Arborist? That’s even better!

Climbers are also responsible for:

  • Using proper pruning techniques
  • Assisting in process of trimming trees, clearing and chipping tree debris, and disposing of tree debris
  • Ensuring that the work area beneath and around the trees is clear and properly marked so that the public will be safe from falling debris
  • Maintaining climbing gear and tree care equipment to be sure that all equipment and tools are safe and in working order for high quality and safe service
  • Ensuring that all crew members follow Company safety policies and procedures

Position Requirements / Basic Qualifications 

  • Valid Driver’s License (CDL’s a plus)
  • 1 Year Experience Required
  • Able to successfully follow directions and complete requests
  • Strong work ethic
  • Good communication skills
  • Experience with Bobcat or Tractor a plus
  • Bilingual (Spanish) a plus
  • Certified Arborist a plus+++

We Offer a competitive salary and an energetic, focused and collaborative work environment.

Reno sells firewood to general public

Did you know… Reno Urban Forestry sells firewood to the general public twice each year. During the months of September and March, the wood yard located at 190 Telegraph is open Tuesdays and Thursdays from 7:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. for wood cutting.

The wood, which includes mixed hardwoods, is in log form and requires people to saw their own rounds for splitting.

The cost for the firewood is $75 per cord. Customers must first sign a waiver of liability and pay in advance in order to enter the wood yard. Waivers can be obtained at the Park Maintenance Office, 2055 Idlewild Drive, in Idlewild Park. Office hours are 7 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday, excluding holidays.

Complicated Tree Removal with 90-Ton Crane

Saturday morning in west Reno time-lapse video…

Signature Landscapes and NV Energy crews carefully worked together to remove giant branches overhanging high-power lines in west Reno last Saturday. This significant project was actually just the first step in a multi-day project that will result in the removal of two giants – an 85 foot tall cottonwood and a 90 foot tall Siberian elm. Each nestled deep in the back yard, bordering a day care and other neighbors.

Cottonwood and Elm removal

As you can see, the neighborhood was out to watch this delicate balance of engineering and skill as the Signature Landscapes and NV Energy crews removed the trees.


Reno Tree Removal photo gallery

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