Growing Up - Leaves

Photo of an American Chestnut tree branch leaves backlit by the sun.One thing I know for sure: We trees need our leaves! We also need a lot of sunlight. Through a process called photosynthesis, our leaves absorb sunlight to help us make our food.

Our leaves also control our water content and even provide the power to absorb water. A single leaf can live for as short a time as 6 months. In contrast, a pine tree's needles can live as long as several years. But even after it dies, a leaf serves an important purpose: when it falls, it takes some of our waste products along with it. Even as it decays, it adds nutrients to the soil.

Actually, most living things on the planet have a stake in leaves. Why? Because leaves produce oxygen. Most living things, including you primates, need oxygen to survive.