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Why Trees Feature Fantastic Fall Colors

October means that it’s time to enjoy the season’s short-lived color displays. 

During winter, there is not enough light or water for photosynthesis. The trees “rest” and live off the food they stored during summer. As fall approaches, the days get shorter, and trees begin to shut down their food-making factories. Chlorophyll, which makes leaves green, disappears from the leaves.  

Small amounts of yellow and orange colors have been in the leaves all along, but the green chlorophyll masks these colors in summer.
The bright reds and purples seen in leaves are made mostly in the fall. In some trees, like maples, glucose is trapped in the leaves after photosynthesis stops. Sunlight and the cool nights of autumn cause the leaves turn this glucose into a red color.

The brown color of trees like oaks is made from waste left in the leaves. 

DuPage County forest preserves offer some spectacular views of the fall color displays. The woods at Maple Grove Forest Preserve in Downers Grove are known for intense colors in the resident black, silver and sugar maples. 

The scenic overlook at Greene Valley Forest Preserve in Naperville offers a unique view of the fall colors — a view from almost 200 feet above the surrounding forests. The overlook is open on Saturdays and Sundays from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. through October, weather permitting.  

Other forest preserves to visit for beautiful colors include Meacham Grove Forest Preserve in Bloomingdale, West DuPage Woods in West Chicago, Waterfall Glen in Darien, Churchill Woods in Glen Ellyn, Fullersburg Woods in Oak Brook, Blackwell in Warrenville, and Danada and Herrick Lake in Wheaton. 

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