(Serving Somerset County & Surrounding Areas)
Fax: (908) 756-0730
(Serving Warren County & Surrounding Areas)
The vivid colors of the leaves we see around us are a natural product of the trees preparing for winter dormancy. Before the winter months, trees stock up on minerals and nutrients to awaken in the spring with an abundance of green color.
Why the Color Change?
The following is an excerpt from the "The Science of Autumn Beauty," an article by the International Society of Arboriculture.
Leaf Pigment and Light
Thanks to the physics of sunlight striking pigments in the leaves, we see various leaf colors throughout the year. Leaf pigments play a crucial role in the colors we see. Chlorophylls, carotenoids, and anthocyanins present in a leaf help determine what color the leaf will display.
The pigment that gives leaves their green color is chlorophyll. Chlorophyll is used in photosynthesis, which is the process that uses sunlight to transform carbon dioxide and water into carbohydrates (sugars) that fuel tree growth. During the spring and summer, with more hours of sunlight and warmer temperatures, this photosynthetic process is most active, thus leaves are green.
When daylight hours become less and temperatures are cooler, photosynthesis slows down and there is less chlorophyll. This decline reveals a yellow or orange pigment-carotenoid. Carotenoids, the same pigments found in carrots and corn, are usually masked by the chlorophyll.
Unlike chlorophyll and carotenoids, which are present in leaf cells throughout the growing season, anthocyanins are produced in autumn. Anthocyanins give color to familiar fruits such as cranberries, red apples, cherries, and plums. These complex water soluble compounds in leaf cells react with excess stored plant sugars and exposure to sunlight creating vivid pink, red, and purple leaves. A mixture of red anthocyanin pigment and yellow carotene often results in the bright orange color seen in some leaves.
“The Science of Autumn Beauty.” Treesaregood.com. The International Society of Arboriculture. http://www.treesaregood.com/pressrelease/press.aspx.
This magnificent leaf color change signifies the end of the annual process of the leaves. The leaves will soon fall, replenishing the ground with needed nutrients and exposing the bare limbs of the tree's canopy.
Fertilization in the Fall
Fall is the most favorable time to deep root fertilize your trees and shrubs. Roots are growing and extending, searching for the extra nutrients needed. We use a specifically formulated fall fertilizer, which increases the amount of micro nutrients that the plant can naturally store. Then we add in Mycorrhizal fungi that colonize with the roots. This creates "mycorrihiza," a fungus-root complex. Mycorrihiza improves water and mineral absorption, thus helping the tree better accumulate the nutrients it needs for the winter.
Reasons to Feed Your Trees and Shrubs
• Roots of trees and shrubs in the lawn area often get compacted and are in competition with the lawn for nutrients
• Compaction of the soil produces problems such as poor root penetration, reduced internal soil drainage, reduced rainfall infiltration, and lack of soil aeration
• Overall recent drought periods. It takes 5 years for a tree to properly recover from drought
• Lately, the rains that we have had in our area have been heavier, blasts of rain that wash away. What we have been missing are the steady drenching rains, in which the water has time to seep deep enough into the soil
Signs of Stress
• Light green or off color foliage
• Dead ends on branches
• Smaller leaves or less leaves
• Wilting of foliage
• General lack of vigor
Remember Healthy Plants Resist Stress and Decline!
About the Deep Root Fertilizer
The time released fall fertilizer includes beneficial Mycorrhizal fungi and micro organisms that stimulate the natural processes in soil for greater absorption of nutrients.
Nitrogen, Phosphorus and Potassium are key nutrients. Nitrogen is needed for healthy green growth. Phosphorus supports proper seed and root development while Potassium is vital for disease resistance, healthy roots and winter hardiness. The fall fertilizer's specific formulation of lower Nitrogen but higher Potassium and Phosphorus, combined with the Mycorrhizal Fungi, will help protect the plant through its dormant stage and remain available for the long awaited spring green-up.
Remember to properly maintain your plants through this most valuable service thus protecting your landscapes' most valuable asset.