An online resource based on the award-winning nature guide

Deciduous Leaves Falling

10-19-13 falling sugar maple leaf 081The falling of a leaf is the final step in an ordered series of events referred to as senescence. This process allows trees to conserve resources, prepare for a dormant period, and shed inefficient tissues. When leaves become unable to produce food due to a lack of chlorophyll, a process of shutting-down and sealing-off begins. Leaves are shed through a number of biological actions which take place at the base of the leaf’s stem, or petiole. The walls of some cells weaken, while those of other adjacent cells expand. The expansion of the latter causes pressure against the weaker-walled cells, resulting in these two groups of cells tearing away from each other, causing the leaf to fall. The tree forms a protective barrier on the wound where the leaf had been attached to the branch, sealing it off from pests and the environment and leaving a leaf scar.

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3 responses

  1. Susan Holland

    Another great picture! I love this.

    October 7, 2013 at 12:59 pm

  2. Randi Filoon

    Gorgeous photo Mary! Not to mention that I never knew the process of the falling of leaves. Thanks! Randi

    Sent from my iPad

    October 7, 2013 at 1:31 pm

    • So flattered you’re following my blog, Randi! You and Sandi were definitely my heros growing up!

      October 7, 2013 at 1:38 pm

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