Breakdown: Why leaves get heavier when they are wet

Published: Nov. 27, 2019 at 10:14 AM CST
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MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) - Leaves, they are falling off Mid-South trees in a rapid pace. As the leaves fall, rakes come out and people begin to rake them up.

While piling up the leaves, have you ever wondered why leaves seem so heavy? In this episode of the breakdown, we tell you why leaves are heavy and how much more they weigh when wet.

A mature oak tree, very grand as the branches and leaves wave in the wind. Did you know a mature oak tree has nearly 200,000 leaves? That is a lot of photosynthesis happening -- a little biology joke.

When you start to bag up the leaves, that bag usually gets heavier and heavier -- 360 dry leaves are equal to one pound. That is rather heavy amount for a pile of leaves.

Think about this, when you get a full tree, which again is 200,000 leaves, that means it would be 550 pounds of leaves! That is rather heavy, the size of some bears!

Now say it rains, water added to leaves will make them heavier. You can multiply that number by four times. Meaning a full oak tree, with 200,000 leaves. Would weight 2,200 pounds!

Next time you try to rake leaves while they are wet and feel like they weigh more than when they are dry, then you are correct, they weigh four times more.

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