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Trees of New England


Fall is a beautiful time of year, particularly in New England where the trees paint the perfect picture of autumn. Horticulturist David Smith explains what causes leaves to turn their colors.

As the trees slipped off into their winter sleep, I had an opportunity to visit with a man very well acquainted with these noble giants of the plant world. David Smith is the former Director of Horticulture at White Flower Farm in Litchfield, Connecticut. He is English by birth but he's spent a long time on this side of the pond.

David Smith, Ret. Dir. of Hort. at White Flower Farm in Litchfield, CT: Things would be rather dull if we had greens the whole year round.

Allen: Yes, it would be.

David Smith: In New England, the autumn colors really tend to start in August. As summer winds down, the leaves produce less and less chlorophyll. As the green pigment fades, the other colors in the leaves, that were always there but masked by the chlorophyll, are revealed.

Allen: And come forward.

David Smith: Yes, they come forward to the surface and as the process continues through the fall, we see the brilliant colors coming on - reds, golds and oranges.

With all this fall beauty, there is certainly plenty of inspiration for planting a tree. And fall is a good time to plant one, before the ground freezes.

When I look at a grove of beautiful trees I can't help but think about all the autumns those trees have experienced. They really are silent witnesses to history.