If spring is almost here why do … Winter Leaves Hang On — Center for Private Forests — Penn State University

The photo above could have been taken on a cold bleak November day, but I snapped it this morning (March 18) while standing on my deck. While I am ready to move on to the new life and growth associated with spring, this oak tree is bent on hanging on to the past. Why DO some trees hold onto their leaves throughout the winter and into the spring? I did a little research and found the article below. It sheds some light on the issue, but doesn’t answer the question definitively. It’s another unsolved mystery of creation. The good news is that when spring finally gets underway, this oak’s marcescent (see below) leaves will finally fall when they are thrust off the limb by new leaves taking their place. Sometimes we are like these leaves. We hang on to old growth, and don’t move on until we forced to…

In my reasearch I learned two vocabulary words. The first is “marcescence”, the term used to describe leaf retention by deciduous trees. The other is “abscission”, the process a tree uses to shed their leaves. Enjoy the article below and the fancy words that illuminate but ultimately don’t explain “why”. 

http://ecosystems.psu.edu/research/centers/private-forests/news/2012/winter-leaves-that-hang-on

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