What Causes Autumn Leaves to Fall?

Many articles have been written about what causes leaves to change to those vibrant, eye-catching colors we’re accustomed to each year. It is a fascinating process to be sure. But after the appearance of those colors awe us for a time, the limbs become bare and uninviting for a period, too. So, what exactly causes autumn leaves to fall? There are several factors that play a role in this, and unlike the very scientific process that occurs when leaves change color, it may surprise you to learn that some of the causes behind the actual falling of the leaves are actually quite simple, albeit logical.

Perhaps one of the most common reasons leaves fall is wind. As the frequently blustery conditions of autumn and winter set in, leaves succumb to them. Obviously, the more powerful the wind, the more likely the leaves are to fall. If you live in a region that is naturally prone to high winds or blizzards (especially if they occur early in the season), then you are more likely to see the leaves fall earlier than other regions.

Likewise, precipitation may be responsible for causing the leaves to finally drop. This may include heavy rains, hail, snow or ice. Any form of precipitation that either falls heavily or bears significant weight as it accumulates on the tree will likely cause leaves to plunge.

Consider, too, that wildlife may also sometimes be responsible for falling leaves. Particularly, animals of flight and those that climb, such as birds and squirrels, become quite active during autumn as they make preparations for the onset of winter. They scurry about looking for food, shelter and other necessities. In doing so, they may unwittingly become the culprits responsible for finally sending trees’ leaves plummeting to the ground. Contact an Austin arborist or a wildlife specialist for ideas regarding how you can support wildlife during these increasingly sparse months without prematurely compromising the autumnal splendor of your landscaping trees.

The overall health of a landscaping tree is also a factor when it comes to dropping leaves. If a tree is unhealthy or dying, the affected parts are generally isolated from the physiological processes responsible for sustaining it. Certainly a dying branch can neither support itself nor any leaves. If you enjoy autumn’s brilliant colors and desire to prolong their presence on your landscape, contact an Austin tree trimming professional at the first indication of a problem to assist with the proper techniques necessary for dealing with dead or dying branches, thereby increasing the viability of your tree.

While some of the causes of falling leaves are unable to be prevented, some may be combated, even if only for a meager amount of additional time to take in autumn’s grandeur. Speak with an Austin tree care specialist about ways in which you may extend this annual experience in your own backyard.

About the Author: Andrew Johnson is the owner of Central Texas Tree Care, a leading provider of Austin tree service in Central Texas. Certified ISA Austin arborist services including: tree trimming, tree removal, tree care and oak wilt treatment. For more information on Austin tree service, please visit

Reasons to Plant in Autumn

Spring is often perceived as the best time to plant trees, shrubs, and flowerbeds. Autumn, however, is arguably the best time to do so. There are several reasons why autumn planting should be considered.

First, autumn is an ideal time to plant due to the overall importance of roots. Of course, roots provide stability for the tree through anchoring. But the roots are also instrumental in sustaining the tree through water and oxygen absorption. As the tree’s leaves respond to the onset of shortened days and gradually become dormant, the roots are better able to develop, further stabilizing the tree and becoming ever more adaptable toward the duty of provision of sustenance for the tree.

Second, soil temperature during autumn is yet another reason why autumn planting is a good idea. Even with the simultaneous cooling of the air temperature at the onset of autumn, the soil temperature tends to stay relatively warm. Tree leaves are first responders to autumn’s shortened days and cooler temperatures, which signal dormancy, or a period of inactive growth. When, because of dormancy, the roots are able to slow, and eventually halt, the processes by which they provide sustenance to the most distal areas of the tree, including the leaves, the ability to attend to self-preservation kicks in. This only fosters the above scenario wherein the tree’s roots have time to further develop ahead of winter’s impending cold.

Next, it is also advantageous to plant during autumn because the humidity tends to be slightly higher. Higher humidity means that natural precipitation abounds, keeping newly planted trees and other botanical life consistently nourished. Even if temperatures rebound into above average ranges, as often seen during an Indian summer, there is likely to be little damage done. Transpiration decreases as the effects of autumn settle in.

Finally, because the air temperature cools, too, yet another reason for autumn planting is a more comfortable environment in which to work. Certainly, autumn is a temperate season in which such physical labor, as required in the planting of trees and the maintenance of a landscape, is quite bearable.

Aside from planting, another advantage of autumn includes better visibility. Once deciduous trees drop their leaves, things like a damaged trunk or dead, or dying, limbs are more easily noticed. Consult an Austin tree trimming specialist to assist you with trimming such limbs to better improve the viability, stability, and aesthetic appeal of your landscaping trees.

If you have additional questions or concerns regarding seasonal planting and maintenance of your landscape, an Austin tree care professional can speak to you further about the advantages, or any drawbacks, for each season, including any tasks completed during autumn.

About the Author: Andrew Johnson is the owner of Central Texas Tree Care, a leading provider of Austin tree service in Central Texas. Certified ISA Austin arborist services including: tree trimming, tree removal, tree care and oak wilt treatment. For more information on Austin tree service, please visit

Reasons for Raking Fall Leaves

Most of us lead very busy lives. In this fast-paced society, there’s a lot that consumes our time and occupies our schedules, including work, church, the care of our children, aging parents or pets, clubs, and sports, just to name a few. It’s quite easy to become so distracted by life’s demands that we let a few things slide here and there. And for all of the effort that so many homeowners put forth toward the care and maintenance of their landscapes during the spring and summer months, it is easy to forget that care and maintenance should also continue during the fall and winter months, too.

Since landscaping trees go dormant during the colder months, the fact that there are still things we can do to maintain our lawns, protect our trees, and get a head start on preparations for a great growing season when spring and summer return is sometimes overlooked.

And although it is quite often one of those things many of us neglect to do, one such thing that can be done to set things on course for a great start upon spring’s return is to rake autumn’s fallen tree leaves. There are several reasons to consider doing this.

First, fallen autumn leaves that amass may inadvertently cause damage to a landscape. The weight of fallen leaves only grows as autumn rains dampen them. Left undisturbed, rainfall may accumulate. This may cause soil compaction, lack of oxygen, or foster a ripe environment for vermin. Any one of these possible outcomes has the capacity to negatively impact the health of a landscape when growing season returns.

Second, large areas of fallen leaves may prevent the visibility of sidewalks, steps or potholes. Additionally, any rainfall that accumulates under piles of leaves and remains unattended may also freeze when winter’s cold arrives. These are circumstances which pose a threat to homeowners, visitors to the property and pets alike. Unfortunately, there also exists the possibility of legal implications for such matters.

Bear in mind, too, that any tree limbs weakened from storm, wind or termite damage that happen to hang in precarious areas, such as over a home, vehicles or power lines, also become a hazard during winter freezing events. Dangerous outcomes can be prevented before winter’s arrival by being proactive no later than fall. Contact an Austin tree trimming professional to assist with proper pruning techniques to minimize any unnecessary risks.

Finally, since fall leaves are inevitable, put them to good use. Establish a compost bin, and place raked leaves into it for an appropriate storage component during fall and winter. As natural breakdown (decomposition) occurs over these months, homeowners will find that they have a rich, environmentally-friendly and cost-effective–absolutely free!–compost for use in landscaping and gardening projects when spring returns.

For additional assistance or ideas regarding how best to deal with or make use of fall leaves, contact an Austin tree care professional.

About the Author: Andrew Johnson is the owner of Central Texas Tree Care, a leading provider of Austin tree service in Central Texas. Certified ISA Austin arborist services including: tree trimming, tree removal, tree care and oak wilt treatment. For more information on Austin tree service, please visit

Summer’s Effects on Fall Foliage

Arguably, the autumn months foster one of the most enjoyable seasons of each calendar year. The cooler, more comfortable temperatures that accompany it are often a welcome relief to the heat and humidity Austin, and many other parts of the country, experience. That relief also presents itself in the form of rainfall. Many areas within Texas, including Austin, are often subjected to intense southern heat and very little precipitation to counter the negative effects of such. As summer’s heat and, sometimes, drought conditions persist, some may be left wondering about the impending autumn.

Part of autumn’s glory is the foliage that crowns hillsides, mountaintops and valleys. Without this annual occurrence, the anticipation of the season is greatly diminished. So, is there good reason to wonder what may be in store in the fall when a harsh summer precedes it?

Indeed summer’s heat can impact the turning of a tree’s leaves. Persistently hot temperatures may cause undue stress on the leaves. If this occurs, the leaves may begin to wilt prematurely. Although some color typical of autumn may be seen during this process, it is frequently short-lived and sometimes not seen at all. Depending upon how long the excessive temperatures have lingered, leaves may be unable to withstand them after a point. Once this threshold has been reached, the results typically are wilting and die-off of the leaves, and abounding feelings of chagrin from fall enthusiasts.

Heat is not the only component of summer that has the potential to negatively affect fall, however. Another similar key component is lack of rainfall. Much like the oppressive southern heat, lack of precipitation is also believed to have the capacity to stunt a wondrous autumn display. Insufficient rainfall, and especially a resulting drought, is a stressor for a tree. When rainfall is unavailable, so is a vital part of the tree’s sustenance. The ability to self-sustain may become compromised, and the effects of this are sometimes most evident by the duration of the foliage at the onset of fall.

Additionally, sometimes trees’ extremities are quite vulnerable during a season of limited or no rain. Much like any other living creature, it is a tree’s extremities that are the last to receive nourishment and, quite logically, the first to suffer for it. Already weakened branches are more susceptible to the effects of high winds or heavy rains, should a period of drought come abruptly to an end. If any limb causes you alarm, or if you’re uncertain as to its steadfastness, contact an Austin tree trimming expert for assistance.

Perhaps the best indicators of an enjoyable autumn are a warm and wet spring, which ultimately promotes healthy leaves, and a temperate summer with adequate rainfall, which helps to maintain the health of the leaves as the seasons shift from spring to summer. Another reputable indicator of a colorful autumn spectacle is an Indian summer. This is those pleasantly cool, crisp nights followed by pleasantly warm, sunny days, quite the typical fall weather pattern.

Contact an Austin tree care professional if you have specific questions or concerns about your landscaping trees, their overall health or how their foliage will be impacted by summer weather conditions.

About the Author: Andrew Johnson is the owner of Central Texas Tree Care, a leading provider of Austin tree service in Central Texas. Certified ISA Austin arborist services including: tree trimming, tree removal, tree care and oak wilt treatment. For more information on Austin tree service, please visit