So how or more appropriately, why does the green leaves of summer turns to yellow, orange or red during autumn? We know that leaves have the green pigment chlorophyll used in the production of plant food (glucose). Leaves also has the yellow (carotenoid pigment) and red (anthocyanin pigments) but is not seen much because they are covered up by chlorophyll. The leaves know that it is autumn when the days become shorter and shorter, since ‘photosynthesis,’ the process where plant makes food happens with the help of light.
As animals hibernate during winter, so does some plants and trees in the same way. Animals store fats and sleep off during winter while plant leaves store glucose and shut down their food making factories. The chlorophyll are then gone and now the yellow and red pigments are revealed, naturally when they combine, orange is produced.
As for maple trees, persimmons and other red colored leaves, the leftover foods plus the (occasional) sunlight and cool breeze of autumn makes this wonderful color comes out.