Every year as the days get shorter and the weather gets colder, most of the trees around us loose all their leaves. But why is that? Don’t they produce energy for the tree? How does the tree survive? The answer to that is, yes, they do make energy for the trees! And the fact that they make energy is why they are unable to stick around during the winter!
When a tree (or any plant) makes energy, they do so through Photosynthesis. This is the process of absorbing the energy from the sun, mixing it with water and nutrients from the ground, and the carbon dioxide from the air. The leaves are where this energy is created. So, when there is less sunlight and less warmth, there is now less ability for the leaves to produce energy for the tree. And with less ability to produce energy, that means they have less energy to survive. When the leaves are on the tree in summer, they can make more than enough energy for the tree AND the leaves to survive. But with fall and then winter, there would not be enough energy made for both to survive…which means that the whole tree would die. So, the trees store up enough energy for them to make it through til Spring, and then they lose their leaves so they don’t use more energy than they stored. While we may not think of trees as “smart” because they do not make choices or have a brain, they definitely know what they are doing when it comes to surviving on less energy. Fun fact, that energy they make is sugar!
So there you have it, now you know why trees drop their wonderful leaves in the fall, and then regrow them in spring. And anytime you look up at a tree that looks sad and cold in winter, you can know it is just waiting to bloom with excitement at the first sign of that warm spring sun.