How Amazing Trees Survive the Winter

snow-covered amazing treesTrees really are amazing, and the more you know about them, the more amazing they appear.  For starters, their resiliency and their ability to endure the ever-changing environment is impressive. Have you ever thought about how trees survive the winter here in blustery Central Indiana?  Keep reading to learn more about trees and their amazing ability to tolerate harsh winter conditions.

Dormancy Reduces Trees’ Needs

It’s no secret that most trees lose their leaves in the fall.  This natural occurrence leaves trees without a way to produce food.  Green leaves convert sunlight into energy through the process of photosynthesis.  This energy is the tree’s food, which it uses to grow and function.   Obviously, there are no green leaves in the winter, which means no food is being produced.  Fortunately, trees handle this quite efficiently.  They simply go dormant in the winter.  During dormancy, trees do not grow and their metabolism slows down.  They only perform essential biologic functions, thus conserving energy.  The limited energy needs are met with food that has been stored in cells during sunny summer days.  When spring comes and the days lengthen and brighten, leaves again emerge and trees come out of dormancy.

Cellular Changes Keep Trees from Freezing

Lack of food is only part of the problem created by winter weather.  Trees also have to endure freezing temperatures.  They do not have the ability to move to a warmer climate or to shelter themselves in any way.  But they do have the ability to make incredible changes to their own cells that protect them from the cold.  One change is that cell membranes become more pliable, which allows water to move more freely out of the cell.  Secondly, the cells convert stored starch into sugar, which is used to sweeten the fluid within the cell.  This sweetened liquid has a lower freezing point so the water inside remains unfrozen while the water outside of the cell freezes.  Finally, the cell liquid itself actually transforms into an almost solid state which keeps the cell from crystalizing.  (For a more detailed explanation of these cellular changes, you can see this article.)

Trees are remarkable in their ability to deal with winter weather.  At Ping’s we think that this is only one of the ways that trees are amazing.  Our business is dedicated to providing the best preventative tree care as well as responding quickly and efficiently to tree problems and emergencies.  Call us for a free estimate and our expert arborists and technicians will help you protect these miraculous plants.