Going for walks during fall is one of the joys of life, as the trees project so much beauty. But then the leaves start disappearing slowly, and that’s a sign that winter is around the corner. Most trees lose their leaves in preparation for winter, but some trees keep holding their leaves. The common reason why some trees retain their leaves during winter is down to the reduction of temperatures in early fall, which deters the development of abscission cells, and preserves the leaves in winter. If you need any assistance or guidance about your trees, you can contact Manhattan Tree Care – Tree Services in New York City.
Why Some Trees Never Lose Leaves in Winter
Trees that retain their leaves during winter usually stick out like a sore thumb. The common reason for trees retaining their leaves during winter is a developmental problem known as marcescence. This condition typically rocks parts of the tree where flowers aren’t formed yet, and it also affects specific parts of the tree, mainly the branches that hang near the ground. During winter, chlorophyll production goes down, and trees start losing their leaves. In the long run, marcescent trees discard their leaves during spring as new tree parts come in. Some of the trees that display this habit include the American hornbeam, swamp white oak, and Hop-hornbeam.
Marcescent Trees Care Tips
During winter, trees are exposed to extreme weather conditions. The following are some of the things that you can do to maintain your marcescent trees.
1. No Pruning in Late Summer
The main benefit of pruning a tree is that it promotes the formation of new buds. Pruning during spring helps your tree flourish. But when you do it in the late summer, the timing can be quite off. As the winter season comes around, trees lose their leaves and become dormant. And so, when you prune the trees in late summer, you stimulate the growth of new buds, and so, the bloom and foliage become most susceptible to the cold damage exerted by winter.
2. Protect the Roots
Tree roots help with the absorption of nutrients. And so, if the roots are hurt, it can affect the tree. One of the common ways people hurt trees is by driving automobiles or other machinery over the roots, which constricts the soil, and limits oxygen availability. If the oxygen supply isn’t sufficient, the roots might die off and cause the whole tree to dry up. During winter, if the roots are exposed to excessive cold, they might suffer trauma. The risk goes even higher for younger trees or trees with shallow roots. One of the best ways to safeguard your roots from the effects of winter is by installing great mulch. Mulch is a layer of materials with insulation properties that allows the roots to be enveloped by heat instead of extreme cold.
3. Wrap Branches and Tree Trunk
Young trees don’t have strong branches, and snow can exert damage on these branches. One of the ways of protecting such trees is by clasping the branches together. This ensures that there’s no surface for snow to rest on and safeguards the tree from damage. If you live in an area prone to pest infestations during winter, it is also prudent to wrap the tree trunk. Additionally, you might have to clear the area around the tree, uprooting all the grass and weeds, thus discouraging pest activity.
4. Water the Trees
Water is an essential component of a healthy tree. If there’s no rain, you need to water your trees, especially if they are young. If your trees are not hydrated and are exposed to extreme cold weather simultaneously, it can speed up the drying up of trees. For young trees, water them once every one or two weeks, and for mature trees, water them once every four weeks.
5. Keep an Eye Out for Pests
During winter, the trees are already burdened with extreme cold, but one thing could make things even worse: a pest infestation. Some of the common pests that attack trees during winter include red spider mites and sap-sucking insects. Always safeguard your trees against pest activity.
6. Protect Your Trees from Freezing
Young trees are vulnerable to the harsh conditions of winter. You can protect budding trees by covering them with sheets or tarps that extend to the ground to increase the warmth surrounding them. Typically, premature trees cannot endure sub-zero temperatures, and thus they need adequate protection.