Changing Leaves


This time of year you’ll see leaves start to change colors. In the mountains the colors can make a
beautiful sight. But why don’t evergreens lose their leaves, and why are there all the different colors?
Let’s talk about it so that as the leaves change this year you can show off your scientific knowledge to
your friends!

Firstly, leaves can change color for a variety of reason. Disease, drought, nutrient deficiency among
other things are all reasons why leaves can change colors. In the plants cells there is a chemical called
chlorophyll. Chlorophyll is crucial to the plant. Chlorophyll converts the light energy into chemical
energy in a process called photosynthesis. That chemical energy is used by the plant for growth and
reproduction. If you eat a plant then you’re ingesting that energy too. If you eat an animal that has been
eating plants you’re still ingesting that energy. Photosynthesis is an amazing process that is one of the
biggest building blocks of life.

The chlorophyll can absorb many wavelengths of light. However, the green wavelengths are not
absorbed but reflected. This gives leaves the green color that we see. Next to the chlorophyll in the
plant leaves there are other chemicals that serve as a buffer to protect the chlorophyll. These other
chemicals are pigments and they absorb the wavelengths of light that would be dangerous to the
chlorophyll. These pigments vary in the color that they reflect from yellow to orange.

As the temperature starts to drop and the days get shorter, chlorophyll will start to break down in the
leaves and stop converting light energy to chemical energy. During the growing season, there is so much
chlorophyll in the leaves that the green color overpowers the pigments yellow to orange. However, with
the chlorophyll beginning to break down the pigment’s coloring begins to show through. Different
species of plants will have different levels of chlorophyll. The mixing of chlorophyll and pigment will
result in the different colors of leaves that we see in the fall. The weather can affect the intensity of the
leaf color. Colors will be more intense with rainy and overcast days.

While the leaves are changing color the tree will also begin to create a special layer of cells at the point
of attachment for the leaf to the tree. This layer of cells will seal the tree off from the leaf so that an
open wound is not left when the leaf falls by its own weight.

Not all trees lose their leaves in the fall. Evergreens such as pines, hemlocks, and firs to name a few have
a thicker coating of wax around their leaves. All leaves have a thin coating of wax that is used to protect
them from drying out. On evergreen trees, the wax coating is thicker and can protect the leaves through
the winter. Evergreens will still lose leaves, but they don’t lose them all at one time. They’ll completely
replace all of their leaves over a period of 2-4 years.

If you have agricultural questions or please contact your local county Extension Office. You can also send
me an email at Enjoy the leaves this fall!

Towns & Union County Extension are having a Master Gardeners training course that will begin January
29 th . This is a 10 week course that will teach about horticultural practices and includes volunteer
opportunities. The cost is $175. Contact your local Extension office for more information or email me at

Fire in the Sky over Lake Blue Ridge Saturday June 30th


Ruff leads Panthers over Bobcats

UCHS Baseball

The Panthers faced off against the Gilmer County Bobcats in a non-conference matchup. The Panthers entered the contest with a 1-1 record.

Davis took the mound for the Panthers for the second time this season. Davis pitched well as he allowed one earned run during 4 innings of work.

Davis got info some trouble to start the game allowing a hit and a walk as the Bobcats pounced onto an early lead 1-0.

UCHS senior RJ Banton warms up on the mound during Tuesday night’s game against Gilmer High. Photo by Isaiah Garrett, TeamFYNSports.

Banton stepped in to relive Davis after 4 innings of work. Davis finished with 1 K and 2 BB’s over the course of 4 innings. Davis allowed one earned run.

Can Colwell helped the Panthers grab a lead in the bottom of the 4th with a 2-out, 2-run, single.

The Panthers got into some trouble early in the 6th inning after an error at 3rd base let the Bobcats gain some momentum as they went on to score 3 runs. The Panthers trailed 4-2.

After allowing 3 runs, 2 of which were earned, Banton returned to pitch in the 7th. Banton struck out a batter to start the 7th and finished with 2 groundouts.

Trialing by 2 the Panthers looked to regain the lead and a win. Allison and Ruff walked. Banton got on base with a single. Junior Kelley hit a 2-out, bases clearing, double in walkoff fashion to win the game.

The Panthers were led by, Ruff with 3 HBP BB’s 1RBI and Can. Colwell 1-3 with 2 RBI’s.

The Panthers improve to 2-1. The Panthers will host the Rabun County Wildcats Monday, Feb. 26th in a non-conference matchup.

Panthers looking ahead after opening double-header

UCHS Baseball

The Panthers faced off against the Commerce Tigers in a double header. This would be the Panthers first test of the season. Commerce is considered one of the better teams in the 1A-Private region.

The first pitch was at 4:05. Baggett was UC’s first baserunner of the season and Dyer was the first base hit of the year.

Ruff was the first to pitch for the Panthers in a game that would dig into the bullpen. Ruff pitched 2 innings. Ruff struck 2 batters out, walked 1, allowed 4 hits, Ruff was allotted for 3 earned runs.

Rich took over in inning 3 as the Panthers trailed 3-0. Rich pitched 2 shut out innings as Baggett tied the game up in top of the 4th with a 3 run 2 our single.

Rich got into some trouble early in the 5th as 3 hits and 2 walks as he gave up 3 earned runs. Rich finished with 4 K’s, 4 BB’s, and 3 ER.

Banton stepped in to finish the inning as the Panthers trailed 3-7 at the end of the 5th.

The Panthers put the comeback in force as they scored 2 runs in the 6th which was started by a Baggettt walk.

Colwell stepped in to pitch the 6th as he allowed 2 runs  Colwell allowed 4 hits with 1 K.

Baggett finished 2-2 with 4 RBI’s and 2 BB’s and 2 steals.

The second game of the double header got underway at 7:20.

Harkins started the second game of the evening as he pitched 2 innings.

Baggett was the first run of the second game as he scored off of a walk, a stolen base, and an error.

The Panthers used a huge second inning to separate from the Tigers as Schafer hit his first home run of his career. The Panthers led 6-2 after the 2nd.

J. Colwell took over in the top of the 3rd as he gathered 4 K’s over the course of 4 innings. Colwell allowed 3 runs and walked 4.

Davis stepped in to close the game as he finished with 2 K’s and 1 BB.

Schafer led the Panthers going 2-2 with a homerun and a INF single. Dyer followed with going 2-3 with 2 RBI’s.

The Panthers improved to 1-1 as they split the series. The Panthers next game will be against Rabun county in a non-region matchup Tues. Feb 20th. The first pitch is scheduled for 4:00.

Georgia Mountains’ unemployment rate unchanged

State & National

Georgia Mountains’ unemployment rate unchanged at 4 percent in May

ATLANTA – The Georgia Department of Labor (GDOL) announced today that the unemployment rate in the Georgia Mountains region in May was 4 percent, unchanged from April. In May 2016, the rate was 4.2 percent.

While the rate was unchanged, there were 1,854 more Georgia Mountains area residents employed in May than in April, pushing the total number to 322,801. The increase in the number of employed residents in May grew by 10,692 from May 2016.

From April to May, the labor force, which consists of employed residents and those who are unemployed and actively looking for jobs, increased by 1,861 to 336,335. As the number of employed residents rose, the number of unemployed increased by seven to 13,534.

Compared to May a year ago, the labor force had a net increase of 10,593. The number of employed grew by 10,692, and there were 99 fewer unemployed.

The number of initial claims for unemployment insurance, a measure of new layoffs, declined by 397, or 28.5 percent, to 996. Most of the decrease came in manufacturing and administrative and support services. Over the year, claims were down by 743, or 42.7 percent, from 1,739 in May 2016.

Metro Gainesville had the lowest area jobless rate at 3.9 percent, while the River Valley region had the highest at 6 percent.

Meanwhile, Georgia’s seasonally-adjusted unemployment rate for May was 4.9 percent, down from 5 percent in April. It was 5.3 percent in May 2016.

Job seekers and employers are encouraged to use GDOL’s online job listing service to search for jobs or recruit new employees. In May, 2,197 new job openings in the Georgia Mountains region were posted on Employ Georgia. Throughout the state, 70,120 new job openings were posted.

Local area unemployment data are not seasonally adjusted. Georgia labor market data are available

Visit to learn more about career opportunities, Employ Georgia and other GDOL services for job seekers and employers and to connect with us on social media.


North Georgia Living Showcase on June 10th 2017

Community, Featured

North Georgia is surrounded by beautiful mountains, clean rivers, fresh air and clear skies.  Whether you are interested in biking, hiking, canoeing or kayaking there are plenty of venues for your enjoyment.  You may prefer to sample the many fine wines produced by the local vineyards or refresh with a craft beer.  If organic gardening is your thing, then check out the local farms that provide a bounty for fresh vegetables and fruits.  Feeling artistic?  Then you will enjoy both fine arts and performing arts via our many museums and playhouses.

Come meet those businesses that make North Georgia such a fun and healthy place to live.  Join us for the North Georgia Living Showcase and be amazed.

Saturday, June 10th, 2017.  Highland Crossing Shopping Center, Highway 515, Ellijay, GA  9 a.m. until 5 p.m.  Admission is free.  Like us on Facebook!

Check out event info on Facebook! 

We are an hour’s drive and a world away…

Fire & Ice Chili Cook-off February 18th 2017!

Featured, Lifestyle

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