Blog

Winter is here! Who will speak for the trees? A brief summary of how trees brave the cold.

| Jared Norvell
Winter is here! Who will speak for the trees? A brief summary of how trees brave the cold.

When the leaves have all fallen and the cold sets in, who will help the trees make it through winter?

Some of you might be thinking the Lorax will rush in to save the day, but the reality of the matter is that trees are tougher and stronger than we might assume. They have mechanisms and adaptations that help ensure a safe passage through the unforgiving months of extreme temperatures and conditions.

Ultimately, trees have to surpass two types of tests in order to see warmer months.

The first challenge is to utilize minimal amounts of food that have been stored. Secondly, trees must find a way to avoid having their living cells become frozen. Both tasks seem to be insurmountable, but these impressive organisms rise to the occasion and find unique and intriguing ways to succeed.

When fall rolls around and temperatures begin to drop, trees start the process of abscission. This process includes the severing of cellular ties between the tree and its leaves. This allows trees to breakdown the materials in its leaves, chlorophyll being the first to go, and turn it into valuable nutrients to be stored in the roots.

Trees also employ a process similar to what we do for our vehicles when we use the anti-freeze. When temperatures begin to plummet, trees begin converting starches into sugars. This conversion acts a sort of natural anti-freeze for the living cells deep within the tree. The primary goal for a tree is to keep its living cells from freezing or shattering. With the help of the sugars, trees also gain assistance from a cellular change that causes living cells to become more pliable or bendable. By doing so, trees can undergo harsher temperatures and conditions.

While not all trees will make it through the winter elements, most will live to see another warm season.

Trees are magical and fascinating objects that are often overlooked and under-appreciated. Cold or hot, get outside and learn more about the oxygen-producing treasures that fill our park!

Photo by John Nation. 

About the Author

Picture of Jared Norvell

Jared Norvell

Jared joined The Parklands crew in the summer of 2014. His background includes a Masters degree in Recreation and Park Administration from Eastern Kentucky University. This skill set allows Jared to convey interpretive messages and educational concepts at the PNC Achievement Center for Education and Interpretation where he works as an Interpretive Ranger. If he can’t be found on the grounds of The Parklands, you might find him deer hunting or fishing with his wife, Jerrica.

We are a donor-supported public park We count on you!

$1,115,000 To Date
44%
$2,550,000 2018 Goal

Being a donor-supported public park means we rely on donations, not tax dollars, for annual operations each year. Because of your generosity, we are able to maintain, program, and further develop this extraordinary public space without charging an entry fee. Together we work to enhance quality of life and help our community and economy grow in ways that are healthy, sustainable, and enjoyable for people of all ages. Help us reach our goal of sustaining The Parklands by becoming a Member today. Members make it happen!

Become a Member