An Interactive Map Of Fall Foliage Across The US

Autumn leaves

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Autumn leaves

An Interactive Map Of Fall Foliage Across The US

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into the coppery halls

of beech and intricate oak

to be close to the trees

as they whisper together

let fall their leaves,

and we die for the winter 

Katherine Towers’ Whim Wood from The Remedies

There is a long and on-going love affair between America and the changing colours of the leaves on the trees as winter approaches. They even have their own name for this “season of mists and mellow fruitfulness”: in the rest of the English-speaking world it is known as autumn but in America, it is called fall.

What might not be common knowledge is that those splendid, beautiful reds and yellows are in fact the genuine colours of the leaves – while the bright green displayed through spring and summer is actually a trick of nature.

In spring young leaves are flooded with a bright green compound called chlorophyll. Chlorophyll absorbs sunlight and carbon dioxide and water, allowing the tree to process these into nutrients. As the last days of summer approach, the chlorophyll begins to disappear, revealing the “true” colours of the leaves in their full glory.

Prosaic though it might be, beta-carotene, the same substance that colours carrots, gives us those wonderful ochre tones. Anthocyanins provide us with deep reds and glowing yellows. Flavonoids offer up pigments of gold.

Autumn Foliage
Going for the golds. Photo credit, Glenys Nellist, author

As winter approaches, deciduous trees, those whose leaves fall, batten down the hatches for the advent of cold weather. As the days become shorter and the temperatures fall the trees know it is time to go into hibernation. They turn off the chlorophyll and slowly shut down the veins which carry water to the leaves, causing the leaves to gradually wither and die.

 Were this not to happen then the leaves and maybe the trees themselves would freeze to death.

Fall Foliage
Spectacular fall foliage. Photo credit: Glenys Nellist, author

So nature gives us the sumptuous burst of colour which we call autumn and the Americans call fall.

If you live in the USA, or simply would like to know where and when nature’s magnificent show of gilded glory will be at its best, Smokey Mountain provides an interactive map of fall as the season approaches.

Interactive Map of Fall Foliage
Interactive map of fall foliage

And what about those dead leaves?

They provide natural warmth and protection for the tree roots and degrade into a rich compost which, in spring will provide nutrients for the following year’s leaves so that the cycle may begin once again.

Check out the interactive 2020 Fall Foliage Prediction Map here.

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4 thoughts on “An Interactive Map Of Fall Foliage Across The US”

  1. Trevor, thank you so much for including my photos and linking to my website. Fall here in Michigan is still an absolute treat for the eyes! I loved Katherine Towers’ words too. This is a great site. Thanks to the whole team for bringing some positivity and loveliness into the world.

    1. checker content

      Your photos are stunning and we are thrilled that a published author like yourself is enjoying our site. Enjoy the rest of the “season of mists and mellow fruitfulness”.

  2. I knew about chlorophyll of course but didn’t realise that the glorious autumn colours are actually the true ones. Fascinating. Trees are remarkable all round. Lovely article and great photos 🙂

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4 thoughts on “An Interactive Map Of Fall Foliage Across The US”

  1. Trevor, thank you so much for including my photos and linking to my website. Fall here in Michigan is still an absolute treat for the eyes! I loved Katherine Towers’ words too. This is a great site. Thanks to the whole team for bringing some positivity and loveliness into the world.

    1. checker content

      Your photos are stunning and we are thrilled that a published author like yourself is enjoying our site. Enjoy the rest of the “season of mists and mellow fruitfulness”.

  2. I knew about chlorophyll of course but didn’t realise that the glorious autumn colours are actually the true ones. Fascinating. Trees are remarkable all round. Lovely article and great photos 🙂

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Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

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