If you have been following Dante's gardening posts recently, you will know that he has been quite PURRplexed about the condition of the trees in our yard. The leaves keep turning to yellow and red and falling to the ground. It seemed to Dante that it must be the work of an evil force like those rampant rodents known as squirrels, or perhaps even that poisonous pooping pug from next door.
Dante is endeavouring to stop this tree deterioration before it spreads around the world. He took samples of the bark from the trees in the front and back yards, and the results are due today. Here's Dante to fill you in.
"Heer I is in da back yawd ware moar an' moar leafs has fallen on da grownd. It's gettin' verreh messy I mus' say!"
"An' dis is wot I see frum mai back yawd! The poison is spreadin' alREDdy!"
From our back yard we have a clear view of the wooded ravine which runs the whole length of the street (and beyond). As you can see, the deciduous trees are turning colour. Dante better get to the bottom of this right quick!
"Now I is in da front yawd, an' checkin' fings owt arownd heer."
"Dis is reely kwite alarming!"
"Da whole yawd is jus' littahed wif leafs! Normally I likes any kind of littah, but dis makes me feer fur da future of da werld."
"All dese leafs is deaded. Dey are even turnin' brown."
"Oh, heer cums da UPS man! It mus' be da wesults of da tests I bin watin' for."
"Mama is openin' da envelope fur me and heer is wot it says."
"Leaves are Mother Nature's food factories. Plants take water from the ground through their roots. They take a gas called carbon dioxide from the air. Plants use sunlight to turn water and carbon dioxide into oxygen and glucose. Oxygen is a gas in the air that we need to breathe. Glucose is a kind of sugar. Plants use glucose as food for energy and as a building block for growing. The way plants turn water and carbon dioxide into oxygen and sugar is called photosynthesis. That means "putting together with light." A chemical called chlorophyll helps make photosynthesis happen. Chlorophyll is what gives plants their green color.
As summer ends and autumn comes, the days get shorter and shorter. This is how the trees "know" to begin getting ready for winter.
During winter, there is not enough light or water for photosynthesis. The trees will rest, and live off the food they stored during the summer. They begin to shut down their food-making factories. The green chlorophyll disappears from the leaves. As the bright green fades away, we begin to see yellow and orange colors. Small amounts of these colors have been in the leaves all along. We just can't see them in the summer, because they are covered up by the green chlorophyll."
"Boy, is mai face wed! Dere isn't any poison. Dis is Mudder Nachur tellin' us dat wintah is comin'.
An' yoo noes wot dey say abowt Mudder Nachur."
"Doan mess wif her or yoo hasta answah to me!"
So Dante has learned a major lesson today, and it will only serve to make him a better gardener in the future. Mother Nature needs all the support she can get.