PJ Harmon, a biologist with The West Virginia Division Of Natural Resources, explains why this change occurs. "As the autumn comes, the days get shorter and the nights get longer and it signals the plants that things are changing and they better start conserving water. There's an accumulation of sugars in their leaves and under those conditions, bright, brilliant reds and scarlet starts developing."
Throw in some beautiful bright orange and yellow and you get a picture perfect landscape, if only for a few weeks or a month. Although this happens every year, the degree of brilliance is different from year to year. Harmon says there are several things playing together to create an interwoven masterpiece.
"The three things that determine how much color you have in the autumn is going to be pigment, the weather, if you get adequate moisture but not too much rain, the reds get washed out, and finally, each individual species has a tendency to be one color or another." says Harmon.
It sounds complicated, but nature has a way of working things out so we all get a chance to check out the beauty of our mountains for one magical month.
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