Thursday, October 14, 2010

Fall arrives at Captina Creek

The overall dry weather of the past couple of months combined with decreasing photoperiod and nightly temperature has brought about a colorful change in the watershed's deciduous forests.  Temperatures the past couple of nights have dipped into the low 40's and upper 30's and the sun is now setting at 6:45 pm.  These abiotic environmental factors signal the trees to stop chlorophyll (green in color) production so eventually the pigment breaks down allowing lesser concentrated pigments in the leaf (anthocyanins and carotenoids) to become visible that were originally hidden by chlorophyll over the past growing season.  With chlorophyll production halted leaves are shed by trees to conserve water over the cold winter months.  Leaf colors are peaking along the watershed this week.  The best way to enjoy the colors is to take a drive along S.R. 148 from Barnesville to Powhatan Point.
A section of forest along S.R. 148 west of Alledonia.  Orange and
yellow colors are caused by carotentoid  pigments while reds are
caused by anthocyanins.  Maples, tulip poplars and ashes are usually
the first trees to turn followed by oaks and hickories.  In this photo most
of the oaks still have green foliage. 

One of the best lookouts to observe the forests of the watershed.
Looking northward from the intersection of twp. roads 101 and 121 in
Washington Township just south of Armstrongs Mills.  Enjoy the colors
while you can - they don't last long!

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