A Long Winter’s Nap: How Deciduous and Evergreen Trees Survive the Winter

Winter brings major changes to the landscape, as you already know. Many trees lose their leaves – these are the deciduous bunch, who won’t grow new photosynthesizers until springtime.

Evergreens, on the other hand, keep their green all winter long. They don’t grow new needles until spring or summer either, however. Most of these are conifers, meaning they have and reproduce with cones, although a few evergreens – such as larches – are not.

The main question today is: How do trees survive the winter, and what is the difference between deciduous trees and evergreens?

Deciduous Dreaming

Trees that lose their leaves lose their ability to photosynthesize, and therefore to produce energy of any kind. Because of this, they must go completely dormant – in other words, they sleep hard. This is the only way to protect themselves from cold weather, making them much more resistant to the loss of sunlight, lack of food and plummeting temperatures.

To accomplish this, trees use a chemical known as abscisic acid, or ABA. This gathers at the tips of twigs, telling leaves to fall off and also telling cells not to divide – in other words, to stop growing. While the chemical is present during the cold period, the tree will do almost anything to avoid growth or other metabolic functions.

Needly Naps

Our evergreen friends take a slightly different approach. Instead of shutting down completely, they enter a super-cooled state in which their metabolic functions slow to almost nothing – but don’t actually shut down.

Evergreen trees, for instance, may still grow roots in the wintertime, so long as they’re underground where it’s warm enough. While there’s not enough light for significant photosynthesis, so they can’t feed themselves effectively, they can still make some energy from their needles.

Be aware that evergreens have more “sail” than deciduous trees, meaning that their needles give wind more to push against. That puts them in more danger during high winds and storms than their leafless counterparts. Watch out for damage from weather, even when trees are sleepy.

Continuous Care

While you should leave trees alone in the winter, for the most part, there is an exception: If your tree is damaged or sick, you should take care of it right away. Prolonged stress from a broken limb or significant lean can cause even more damage to a tree. Therefore, if yours has suffered damage from a storm or another catastrophe, it’s critical you get the help you need.

That’s where Premier Tree Solutions comes in. We provide storm cleanup and damage control, as well as branch and brush clearing to prevent spring infestations of mold, mildew, fungus and pests. If your trees need care, even in winter, we invite you to get in touch today.

Merry Mulching: When Is the Best Time of Year to Cover Your Grounds?

Many people have strong opinions on mulching. How much to use, what type is best, when to do it. The truth is, most mulch types will do well in most yards, so long as they’re made from natural materials. Layers between 3 to 4 inches thick are perfect, but the amount is typically forgiving, too.

However, when to mulch is a question of more specificity, so let’s take a look at that today. Once you’ve read this article, you’ll know exactly when to mulch and be merry every year. As a result, your trees are bound to raise a toast to you!

Mulch to Protect from Heat AND Cold

Some people insist mulching is to insulate the ground against cold snaps, protecting tree and plant roots from frost and ice. Others insist mulching is more important in hot weather, when the air sucks moisture out of the ground and away from roots, or overheats them with oppressive humidity.

The truth is, both are the truth. Mulching provides a thick cover of organic matter that buffers the soil – and the roots within it – from the air temperatures, hot or cold. The answer is to ensure your yard has a thick enough layer of mulch all year round, and replace it whenever necessary.

Spring and Fall Are Best, Though

Since you want to protect your plants’ delicate roots from heat and cold, it’s best to do your mulching before either sets in for real. That means May or June is the latest to wait before summer. Ditto October or November, before Jack Frost arrives in full force.

Mulch When It’s Dry Out

One caveat when it comes to mulching is to ensure weather is reasonably dry and will be for a bit, while the mulch settles. When you first put down bark chips, leaf litter or compost, it is very susceptible to washing away. Choose a non-rainy time in fall or spring to lay down your mulch, so that it can settle before rain and floods.

Premier Tree Solutions is a growing tree removal business based in Atlanta, Georgia. We specialize in a number of areas, including tree removal and pruning, branch clearing, debris removal, storm damage response and cleanup, stump grinding and more. If it has to do with keeping your trees healthy and safe, we offer it. Give us a call at 404.252.6448 to schedule a service or 404.569.8897 for an emergency. We can’t wait to help you protect your trees and garden!


Get to know Georgia’s beautiful array of trees and how you can take care of your own! Each month, we feature some of the most popular trees in the state. For November, we are showcasing the Eastern Cottonwood. Learn all about the Eastern Cottonwood below!