Four Facts about Fall Foliage

Assortment of fall leaves on the ground.

Trees are Changing in the Credit River Watershed

The calendar has officially turned, and autumn is here! The iconic reds, golds and oranges we love to see in nature are beginning to show themselves. To celebrate fall colours in the Credit River Watershed, here are four facts about fall foliage:

1. Fall colours are disguised in summer

Fall colours are always there, you just can’t see them! The red, orange and yellow pigments we see in autumn are revealed in fall when leaves their food-making process. Chlorophyll, what makes plants green, breaks down and disappears, and the beautiful fall colors become visible.

Oak leaf starting to turn red.
Red oak tree leaf in the process of transformation.

2. It’s not all about the weather

It’s often thought that changing weather triggers leaves to change colours. However, weather only affects the intensity of leaf colour and duration. This is why fall colours look different each year. Air temperature, amount of sunlight and amount of water all play a role in leaf color.

3. Sugar maple trees

Cluster of sugar maple leaves.
Sugar maple trees can grow up to 35 metres tall and can live for more than 200 years.

Did you know that sugar maples (Acer saccharum) are one of the most common trees in the Credit River Watershed? CVC’s Forestry team plants over 1,100 sugar maples each year throughout the watershed. Fall is the best time of year to plant trees. Join us at an upcoming tree planting event. These events are a great opportunity for students to earn volunteer hours.

4. Sugar levels also affect colour

Purple and red leaves are the result of anthocyanins, a pigment that trees produce in the fall when sugars are trapped in their leaves. Longer periods of dry weather and sunlight lead to more sugars in the leaves, which means brighter red leaves.

Tree with fall colours next to a lake.
Sugar maple trees can grow up to 35 metres tall and can live for more than 200 years.

Where to see fall colours

Whether you’re strolling along the trails at Island Lake Conservation Area or taking in the view from Belfountain Conservation Area’s suspension bridge, there’s no shortage of fall colours in the Credit River Watershed. You can see how far along fall colours are at each of our conservation areas by visiting our Park Advisories page.

Graphic showing status of fall colours. This example is showing they are green.
You can check that status of fall colours on our website as fall colours progress.

Fall colour season is a busy time in Ontario. Please respect the hours of operation at our parks and follow all posted signage. Respect all municipal parking regulations as illegal parking is subject to fines and towing.

Belfountain Conservation Area and Cheltenham Badlands require a reservation to visit to ensure everyone has the necessary parking and helps provide an enjoyable visitor experience that is not overcrowded. Book your reservation before heading to the park.

Share your fall colours photos with us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

By Kimberley Laird, Associate, Marketing and Communications

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published.

Scroll to Top