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How Do Trees Survive Winter?

It's commonly known how trees become bare during the winter months but not many know how they come to survive the bitter cold.

Have you ever wondered how trees manage to stay alive during the cold winter months? We have all seen the way trees change throughout the seasons and watch as other parts of nature shrivel up in the cold. Trees can’t migrate like most animals or hibernate though they have their methods of survival. 

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How Do Trees Survive the Winter? 

Trees go through a process called dormancy and this only occurs during the winter months. While trees do not go through hibernation, dormancy is quite similar. The very core of the tree slows down in regards to its metabolism, energy consumption, growth, and much more. We witness the first stages of dormancy in trees when they lose their leaves. 

The scientific explanation for the loss of their leaves is a chemical called Abscisic acid (ABA) that appears in the stem that connects to the leaf. Once this chemical appears it causes the leaves to fall from its branch. Not only does this chemical signal to the leaves when it’s time to fall it also suspends the growth of the tree. 

The suspension of the growth of trees in the winter is another aspect of dormancy. This suspension allows the tree to save up its energy to grow when the season becomes warmer. 

Can Dormancy Be Prevented? 

With developments being made in today’s world it is possible to prevent a tree from going into dormancy. This can be done by simply have an indoor tree either kept in a home or nursery or any shelter that allows for temperature control and management over light patterns. 

One noticeable downside to preventing a tree from going through dormancy is that it cuts down on the lifespan of the tree drastically. It’s within the very nature of a tree to go through dormancy and to try and evade it only causes damage to it. 

There is good reason to letting trees go through dormancy during the cold months. It will allow it to grow to its best potential and live a long life. 

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