Dark Autumn Week: Changing Trees

My online name, Autumnforest, was not a wild choice. I am and have always been a person who is all about autumn; sweaters, cold noses, chimney smoke, piles of leaves, bright colors, chilly breath, hot cider, pumpkins, Halloween, and everything that goes with that season. If I could, I live in autumn all year round.

The moments of peak colors are so short-lived.

How do we preserve autumn leaves?

One of the most common ways to preserve leaves is by pressing them between wax paper.
  • Leaves
  • Wax paper
  • Thin towel or paper
  • Iron
  • Ironing board
  1. Place a leaf between two pieces of wax paper.
  2. Put a towel or a piece of thick paper over the wax paper.
  3. Press on the towel or paper with a warm iron to seal the wax sheets together. This takes about 2-5 minutes on each side, depending on how moist the leaf is. Once you have finished one side, flip the leaf over and do the other side.
  4. Cut around the leaf, leaving a small margin of wax paper to ensure that it will stay sealed.
  5. Rather than cutting out the leaves, you may want to try to peel the wax paper off the leaves, leaving a coat of wax behind to protect the leaves. Try this on one leaf first to see if this method works for you.

So, what makes trees change color? 

Most people assume it’s climate or moisture but it’s actually the length of nighttime. These longer nights create a chemical change. There are three types of pigment involved in fall colors: Chlorophyll which we know as the chemical that creates the plants’ green color. Carotenoids which produce yellow, orange and browns, and anthocyanins which create red. As autumn arrives, the chlorophyll production goes down with the longer nights (less sunlight). The other two chemicals present in the leaves show at this point; the carotenoids and anthocyanins. Some species take longer to change colors. Temperature and moisture during the time that chlorophyll is lowering is what influences the brilliance of the colors.


  1. I've always loved Autumn too. I remember pressing leaves in wax paper when I was a kid. I should try doing that again this fall, rather than just taking photos. :)


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