Have you ever wondered how your trees endure the freezing cold temperatures of the winter? Since they’re unable to hibernate or get up and migrate to warmer climates, trees have developed many different ways to tolerate the cold and survive onto the warm spring days. The physical construction of a tree, along with some amazing mechanisms internally, allows trees to lie dormant during the winter. Even when they’re unable to absorb water or nutrients that they need from the air or soil, they can survive through many biological processes. Read on to learn more!
Bark provides some nifty insulation and protection against cracking and freezing during the brutal winter weather. Tree bark comes in many different textures, colors, and densities – variations that could help your trees tolerate the cold temperature by reflecting light and dispersing the heat.
They Drop Their Leaves or Are Covered in Needles
Broadleaf, deciduous trees lose their leaves during the winter to reduce any water loss. Most needle-leaved trees, known as conifers, retain needles year-round, except larch or bald cypress trees, only losing older and more damaged trees. Needles are much better at retaining water than broadleaves thanks to their smaller surface area and a waxy outer coat that limits water loss to transpiration, which is the evaporation of water from leaves.
Trees Slowly Increase Their Cold Tolerance in their Cellular Level
Trees start to prepare for an upcoming winter in the late weeks of summer as daylight hours decline, entering a dormant state and reaching their adapted tolerance by the middle of the winter. Through a mix of cellular changes that involve shrinkage, dehydration, and sugar concentration, cells will then harden and become almost glasslike. This helps prevent freezing or damage to living cells.
What Happens if Your Tree Can’t Take It?
While trees have definitely evolved incredible strategies for withstanding the cold winter conditions, they can sometimes get so cold that they explode. Yes, you read that correctly. During spells of extreme cold or when trees have had no time to acclimate, the life-sustaining sap inside of a tree can freeze. Sap contains water, so once it expands while frozen, it puts pressure on the bark, which can then snap and create an explosion. There are various historical and current observations of trees exploding due to the brittle cold of the winter. An arborist can come out to your property to help you determine whether or not your trees are in danger of this.
Tree Care and Maintenance from Harford Tree
Ready to have the beautiful yard you have always dreamed of? Harford Tree Experts & Landscaping, Inc has been in the business for decades, providing customers with quality work and quick responses all at the right price. We service the areas of Harford County, Baltimore County, Baltimore City areas including Bel Air, Fallston, Perry Hall, Towson, Essex, Parkville, White Marsh, and Middle River. For service during business hours, reach out to us or give us a call at 410-592-7321. We offer 24/7 emergency service as well, just give us a call at 443-250-6649. For updates about our business and more informative tips, follow us on Facebook and Twitter.