leaf color- a radical idea

Tue Oct 1 15:02:48 EST 1996

It seems, according to my phenological observations, that the leaves are
turning MUCH earlier than any recent year. About 10-14 days earlier than last

This was a mild, very wet year. Normally, in western NC, leaves get "ratty"
looking in late August. Some yelowish effects. Not this year. It was very green
& lush and then, all of a sudden, much color. Some trees are almost bare
already. Not spp. you would expect.

So, a radical hypothesis: trees have a certain capability to produce roots and
leaves each season. But not an infinite ability. In a normal season, they use,
perhaps, (for the sake of argument) 75% of this energy. Then the cold season
sets in and they lose their leaves--due to genetics?
But this year, according to my hypothesis, they reached 100% of energy usage.
Thus, as soon as they reached it, their leaves began turning and falling, weeks
earlier than usual.

I do realize that I am setting myself up to be shot down, embarrases and
humiliated! So, humiliate away--after all, how else can science progress if not
by ideas?

Bob Strauss
strauss at wcu.edu

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