Look out the window and you will see it's happening already. Autumn brings a whole new canvas of colours to the country but what causes the change? Why do leaves change colour in autumn? 

Here, Teagasc forester John Casey, explains what 'senescence' means and how leaf and fruit fall in autumn is important to all, whether in the garden or in the wild.

Leaf senescence refers to when the normal green leaves of many deciduous trees and shrubs take on shades of yellow, orange, red, purple, and brown in the autumn.

A green leaf is green because of a pigment known as chlorophyll. During the spring and summer, the chlorophyll's green color masks the colours' of the other pigments.

Check out this cool link from NASA where you can see the landscape from green to brown.

The changing of the seasons from space

As autumn approaches, with daylight hours shortening and temperatures falling, a layer of special cells forms at the base of each leaf. Water and mineral intake into the leaf is reduced. The amount of chlorophyll in the leaf begins to decrease.

When this happens, the hidden pigments of red, yellow and orange are revealed. As the tree sleeps during winter dormancy, amino acids are stored in the tree's roots, branches, stems, and trunk until the next spring, when the tree begins to grow anew.

In the meantime, both the leaves and the fruit of the tree fall to the ground, acting as a food resource for animals and insects over the winter and to provide seed for the next year.

If you want to enjoy the autumn colours, view this map from Coillte with all the locations for recreational access to forests and woodlands in Ireland.


On After School Hub Múinteoir Ray tells us how much he loves the autumn and he is using leaves to make some autumnal animals like hedgehogs and squirrels.

After School Hub is at 3pm today on RTÉ and you can watch it live or catch up on RTÉ Player

Don't forget that we always want to see your art, so keep uplaoding what you make HERE