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Fall Highlight: Fall Foliage!

11/16/2017

Fall 2017 at Arlington National CemetryEveryone associates fall 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 in leaves become visible.

Additional chemical changes create red, purple and similar colors.

At Arlington National Cemetery, many tree species maples, gums, oaks, dogwoods and others — produce wonderful color. 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 is usually in late October or early November, although as with the cherry blossoms in the spring, weather changes can alter the timing.