Why Do Some Trees in New York Keep Their Leaves During Winter?
As we gear up for the cold months in Upstate New York, you'll notice that most trees have been busy shedding their leaves. But have you ever noticed that there's the occasional oddball that's like, "No thanks bruh, I'm keeping my leaves." What is going on here?
WHY TREES LOSE THEIR LEAVES IN THE FIRST PLACE
When winter rolls around, trees go into survival mode. They lose their leaves to conserve energy because t's like they're saying, "Let's not waste resources on this fashion show when it's freezing outside." Dropping the leaves helps trees chill through the winter with minimal effort.
While trees are preparing for this, they form a special layer of cells between the leaf and branch called an "abscission layer." This layer puts the brakes on nutrients and water heading to the leaf, which is why they eventually start to fall.
SO WHAT ABOUT THOSE STUBBORN TREES STILL CLINGING TO LEAVES?
In some parts of New York, you'll notice some trees holding onto their dry, brown leaves, even in the middle of February. This phenomenon is more likely to be seen in younger trees, or sometimes on just part of a tree that's younger, like one with newer branches.
Turns out these rebels don't fully form the above-mentioned abscission layer until spring, so it's almost like they're behind a season. (Blame it on immaturity... they don't fully grasp how it's supposed to work yet.)
But even if you see these trees keeping their leaves all through winter, they will eventually drop when spring rolls around.
So, sorry... you'll still have to rake eventually.
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