Fall Highlight, 2017

11/16/2017

Fall Foliage & Our Trees

Fall 2017 at Arlington National CemetryAlthough it feels as though summer does not want to let go, autumn is indeed here. Many people associate the fall season with brilliant, multi-colored leaves on the trees, but how do they get that way?

During the spring and summer months, trees use chlorophyll to produce food for themselves. As the days get shorter and cooler, this process stops and the chlorophyll that gives leaves their green color begins to break down. As this happens, the yellow and orange pigments that occur in leaves become visible.

Additional chemical changes create red, purple, and similar colors.

Many species of trees throughout the cemetery, such as maples, gums, oaks, dogwoods, and others, produce wonderful colors. Temperature, light, and water supply all have an influence on the duration and intensity of these fall colors, so every year can be different. Peak foliage in the cemetery should be late-October to early November, though just like the cherry blossoms on the Tidal Basin, changes in weather can alter the timing.