It Has Been A Restful Winter For
Northern Utah Trees
By Dennis HinkampIt's still winter in
According to Jerry Goodspeed, Utah State University Extension horticulturist, trees are a lot like humans when it comes to rest. Each tree needs a certain amount of sleep before it can perform to its maximum potential. We rest at night, and most trees rest during the winter. This rest period is called dormancy.
To get their proper rest, most trees need temperatures to be between about 30 and 40 F. If it is too hot or cold, they do not rest well, or accumulate enough "chill" hours, he says.
"If a tree gets waken up too soon, much like us, it can become grouchy and cranky," Goodspeed says. "They show this ugly mood with a reduced amount of leaves and fruit, and a generally unhealthy appearance. This seldom happens here in
He says a more common scenario occurs when the trees get enough rest accumulated by mid January, and then just wait for the weather to warm up so they can start their season’s growth. A warm February (or January) gets the trees all excited and their buds begin to swell as they awaken. As this happens, the sap begins to flow, and they start to loose some of their winter hardiness, making them more vulnerable to sub-freezing temperatures.
If our weather stays relatively cool, the trees should be fine. However, if the weather warms too much and then we get very cold again, it can kill some buds and tender wood on the trees, Goodspeed says. There is really nothing we can do to prevent this from happening. The good news is, most trees are resilient and recover quickly from some die-back.
"Fortunately, most of our trees are getting enough rest so they will wake in the spring refreshed and ready to grow," he says. "The trees I have observed this year also appear to be sleeping well and have not been affected by the relatively warm winter we are experiencing. Most buds are still tight and are not starting any spring swelling or growth. This should help them withstand most of the cold temperatures we will experience in mid to late February."
Additionally, he says the warm weather and bountiful rain have replenished the soil for evergreen trees and shrubs
Interestingly enough, I read that Oak Trees retain the old brown brittle leaves and in spring the new buds push the old leaves off of the branches.
Perhaps you feel like you are losing your leaves and life is looking a little bleak, the months that are lying ahead for you look like winter and you cannot seem to envisage spring right now. Be encouraged that just like these trees that know the right amount of rest they require, we too go through seasons in our life where we may require more rest than normal. In those times, it is important to allow yourself the rest and recuperation for in due course, spring will arrive again and you will feel the promise of new life and a renewed energy!
Psalm 27 v 13 I would have lost heart, unless I had believed
That I would see the goodness of the LORD
In the land of the living.
14 Wait on the LORD;
Be of good courage,
And He shall strengthen your heart;
Wait, I say, on the LORD!