Autumn leaves and summer sun

Peter Cairns/2020VISION

I don’t know about you, but this summer sun has really heightened my spirits and for once I feel like we have had a proper Summer.

But when we think of summer, it’s all green grass, colourful flowers in bloom and everything looking fresh and lush.

And it did, for the first week or so. But as the summer sun progressed, we started to notice deterioration in the form of crispy, yellow lawns, grass verges looking as if we are in the desert, and the ground scattered with autumn leaves.

Last time I checked we were still in July…why so many orange, brown and yellow leaves?

Out of pure curiosity, I decided to do some research into why this unseasonal colour change was occurring.

The simple answer is that a lack of rain has caused a drought, but should our wild trees not be prepared for a week or two of dryness?

Chris Packham wrote in a BBC article that: “The spectacle of green leaves turning rich reds and yellows in autumn happens when trees have taken all the food they can from the leaves that are filled with chlorophyll – the biomolecule that absorbs energy from sunlight and gives leaves their green colour.

“When sunlight wanes and leaves stop making food, this green pigment is broken down into colourless compounds. Yellow pigments are then revealed and other chemical changes cause red colouration.”

So while we have had no waning sunshine for the past month or so in Lancashire, the trees have in fact taken all the food they can from the leaves, and dropped them due to a lack of sustenance.

Unfortunately, it is the bigger trees which fall victim to drought fastest, with Beech trees being particularly susceptible.

It is not uncommon for autumn to arrive early in the UK in the form of the cooler weather, rain and overcast clouds. But this year we have an early autumn due to too much sunshine…don’t worry if you’re confused – I am too!

But there you have it. Hopefully the forecast rain will right some of the seasonal wrongs which have occurred over the last fortnight and we can in fact enjoy another month of sunshine without us worrying about our plant life.