The timing of the growth and dormancy cycle of the trees in your yard depends on the types of trees you have and where you live. Dormancy is the process that allows your trees to survive the winter and start growing again in the fall. Cold winter months create adverse growing conditions for many types oftrees. As growing conditions become adverse, the trees respond by shutting down all nonessential functions in order to preserve the few resources that will remain throughout the winter. There are some physical changes that you will notice in the trees to indicate that they are moving into dormancy. Some homeowners question whether trees are dying or simply going dormant when these changes occur. There are some signs you can learn to help you differentiate between dormancy and tree death. Understanding what happens when the trees in your yard are going into dormancy can help you protect them from issues that can lead to irreversible damage.
Physical changes that indicate dormancy
The most obvious physical sign that indicates a tree is going into dormancy is when the leaves begin to change colors. The leaves changing colors is an outward sign of what it going on inside the tree. The tree is sending fewer resources out to the branches and leaves in an effort to prepare for the changes that come with the winter. When the leaves do not get the nutrition they need they start to change colors and die. Eventually, the leaves will begin to fall off and give the trees the bare look that many people associate with dormancy. If it is fall and you start seeing these changes in your trees they are most likely heading into dormancy for the coming winter.
Telling the difference between dormancy and death
A tree that is dying can exhibit many of the same physical signs as a tree that is going into dormancy. There are a few clues you can look out for to help you determine if the changes are due to dormancy or something more serious. If a tree starts to lose leaves in the spring or summer it is a sign that there is some type of distress. Trees are in a growing stage during those seasons in California and should not be losing leaves. If there are sections of a tree that do not grow any leaves at all in the spring that is also a sign of a problem. These issues can point to tree death but there are some situations where you can intervene and prevent the tree from dying off. If you see signs that a tree in your yard is experiencing distress then call in an expert right away. Quick intervention may be able to prevent your tree from dying off completely.
Trees are generally very resilient to threats but they are not completely invulnerable to damage. Dormancy and tree death can look similar so keep a close eye on any changes that occur to your trees. If the leaves of your trees change colors and fall off in the fall along with all of the others in your area then you are likely dealing with dormancy. If you have any concerns about the health of your trees set up a professional inspection to get answers about their condition.