It is the summer’s great last heat,
It is the fall’s first chill: They meet.
– Sarah Morgan Bryan Piatt
These words describe the Fall season very well, which usually begins each year around September 22nd. Ah yes, the Autumn Equinox. The word equinox is derived from Latin words meaning “equal night”, just in case you didn’t know.
Some years back a person jokingly said, “We do have Fall colors in Florida…Poison Ivy, it turns a beautiful red in the Fall.” Actually, Florida does have some wonderful Fall colors. There are several Florida wildflowers blooming this time of the year. If you like purple colors, look for flowers such as Florida Blazingstar, Florida Paintbrush, and Deertongue. For yellows, look for Yellowtop, Goldenrod, and Golden Aster. All these can be seen in fields and forests throughout the state.
For the more conventional Fall colors, you may want to visit the bluffs and ravines of Torreya State Park in Liberty County, Florida. You will see several of the same hardwood trees found in the Appalachian Mountains. These hardwoods provide the finest display of Fall colors found in Florida. Imagine that…and you don’t even have to leave the state!
Have you ever wondered why leaves start to change color during the Fall? This change takes place because the days are getting shorter and the nights are getting longer as winter approaches. During the Summer, the leaves contain a large amount of chlorophyll. There’s so much chlorophyll that it completely covers the other colors. With shorter days, there is less light, and chlorophyll production decreases.
Leaves containing mostly anthocyanins will appear red. Those containing carotenoids are usually yellow or orange. Leaves with large amounts of anthocyanins and carotenoids will appear orange. Many oak leaves contain tannins, which is why their leaves appear brown. Sunny Fall days produce the brightest color displays. That’s because anthocyanins require light. Overcast days will lead to more yellows and browns.
We all can agree that Autumn is a great time of the year and the changing of colors is a sight to behold. There is one drawback though…the leaves must fall to the ground and this could cause some problems for your roof gutters.
As leaves accumulate in your roof gutters, they begin to decay creating food and harborage for many insect pests, such as roaches and ants. This organic material also inhibits the flow of water during rain that could cause some roof damage, not to mention the extra weight it applies to the gutter fasteners. But, there is a rainbow at the end of the rainstorm; it’s called “Clear Gutter Pest Defense”.