What Happens to Trees in the Winter Season?

Besides the cold temperatures sapping energy and heat, and despite the snow, winter is often dry and a time of scarcity. Like the animals that have developed strategies to deal with the season, from regulating their temperature to changing their diet, trees have also developed ways to survive winter.

This post will take a closer look at what happens to trees in the winter and tell you how a Lawrenceville, Georgia, tree service company can help prep your trees for the harsh season.

What Happens to Trees in the Winter?

While several strategies can help trees withstand the winter cold, temperatures can sometimes get so low that trees explode. How does this happen?

During extremely cold winters or when a tree hasn’t fully acclimated, its sap can freeze. Since sap contains water, and water expands when it turns into ice crystals, the frozen sap can exert pressure on the bark, eventually causing it to break.

How Trees Survive the Winter Season

With trees being unable to migrate to warm climate areas or even hibernate, they have to rely on ingenuity to get through the winter without dying.

For starters, their barks provide them with insulation, protecting them against freezing and cracking. Different barks have varying textures and densities that go a long way in helping trees tolerate the winter by dispersing heat and reflecting light.

As helpful as the bark is, it isn’t enough. Fortunately, trees have a few more survival techniques. Here are some of them.

Increasing Their Cold Tolerance at a Cellular Level

Trees start preparing for winter during late summer as daylight hours decrease. They rely on several cellular changes that involve sugar concentration, shrinkage, and dehydration. These cellular changes cause the tree’s cells to harden, becoming glasslike.

By mid-winter, the tree will have entered a dormant state, which helps protect its cells from freezing and getting damaged.

Dropping Their Leaves or Retaining Needle Leaves

Oftentimes, broadleaf, deciduous trees lose their leaves during winter to enable them to limit water loss and retain moisture better.

Alternatively, conifers, or needle-leaved trees, retain their needles throughout the season. This is because needles are better water retainers thanks to their waxy outer coating and small surface area. These factors help them reduce water loss through transpiration, which is the evaporation of water from a tree’s leaves.

Prepping Your Trees for Winter

While Lawrenceville, GA, might not experience subzero temperatures during winter, the cold and moisture can still spell trouble for your trees. This is why it is essential to prepare your trees before winter sets in.

There are many steps involved in ensuring your trees will stay healthy all season long, including:

  • Using fallen leaves for mulch: Since fallen leaves decompose naturally, they can provide your tree’s root system with some much-needed warmth
  • Buying additional mulch and encircling the tree’s base with it: Avoid piling the mulch against the tree’s trunk. Instead, apply it around the base, making it a few feet wide and roughly four inches high.
  • Watering the tree: Once the mulch is set and ready to trap moisture, water the tree thoroughly.

Contact Your Local Tree Experts

Similar to winterizing your home, there is a lot that goes into preparing your trees for winter. Fortunately, you can turn to the expertise of Gordon Pro Tree Service for help.

With over two decades in operation, we have a team of experienced and well-trained technicians ready to help. Reach out to us today and enjoy quality service and 24/7 support at competitive prices.

Call Gordon Pro Tree Service at 770-285-1177 to learn more about what happens to trees in the winter season and how we can help.


Our locally owned and operated company has been proudly serving the area for over 20 years now. Gordon Pro Tree Service in Buford, Sugar Hill, Dacula, Flowery Branch, Suwanee, Duluth, Cumming, Lawrenceville, Gainesville, Cumming, Oakwood, Braselton Hoschton, Duluth, Auburn and more.

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5126 Bristol Industrial Way
Buford, GA. 30518



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