DENVER (KDVR) — Aspens are the prime tree to see during leaf-peeping season. But while you’re there, don’t follow the lead of others by leaving a trace. It’s not romantic to draw your initials with your significant other on Aspens. It’s actually described as carving into a layer of human skin.

Leave No Trace explains what really happens when you carve into a tree.

Tree bark is similar to skin, which keeps bacteria and pests away. When trees are carved into, it’s like a wound and it leaves them susceptible to diseases and cellular damage.

In extreme cases, the tree can starve to death due to cellular damage.

Many trees, like Aspens, are particularly vulnerable because they’re not only declining in population but they’re linked together underground. This can cause disease to spread throughout the group of trees, potentially damaging multiple trees.

Ultimate Fall Guide 2023

Fall colors, events, things to do in Denver

Check out more of the fall guide

Leaving no trace is more than just picking up after yourself on a hike. It’s treating nature as if you weren’t there in the first place.

Don’t ruin the fall. Aspens are a huge part of fall foliage in Colorado. Keep Aspens healthy by not tattooing the trees.