Sorry summer fans - meteorological fall starts this week

CREATED Sep 2, 2014

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MILWAUKEE - It is the first week of meteorological fall so it shouldn't be any surprise to see a little bit of color on some of the trees, especially after the summer we've had.

"It's been a very unique year for trees,” August Hoppe, President of Hoppe Tree Service and certified arborist, tells TODAY’S TMJ4’s Jesse Ritka.

In fact, Hoppe explains, some trees are already shedding their leaves because of the weather this year, “This spring was very cool and moist and that's ideal for fungus diseases so a lot of trees had issues with funguses, and we're seeing the repercussions of that, a lot of leaves are falling a bit early because of that.”

But other trees in southeastern Wisconsin are just starting to show some color, you can check the statewide Fall Color Report as well.  Hoppe says this is normal for this time of the year since the trees need the chlorophyll later this winter, “The trees they start pulling their nutrients out of the leaves and back into the root system for storage so as they do that, the pigments in the leaves change and that's what brings out the fall colors.”

It is the chlorophyll in the leaf that gives it its green color and there's an experiment to see what's underneath that chlorophyll: 

Just tear up two or three leaves into small, tiny pieces and put them into a glass.  Fill that glass with some rubbing alcohol, just enough to cover the leaves, once you've done that you mash those leaves in that mixture and put a cover on top of it. Place that glass into a pan filled with hot water and wait 30 to 60 minutes, stirring every 5-10 minutes.  After the time is up, take the glass out and top off.  Cut a coffee filter into strips and place one into the leaf mixture, taping the top end of the strip to the top of the class and let that sit for an hour to an hour and a half.  In that time the color will start to pull up the coffee filter paper, showing the colors underneath dominant green that we see most of the summer.  So just like in the trees, with time, the chlorophyll is pulled away and you're left with the cool yellows and oranges and reds of autumn.