Can a Tree Freeze to Death? Winter Care Tips

We start spending more time indoors when winter comes around, bundling up with warm gloves and cuddling by the fire. But trees have no option but to brave the bitter cold. Most trees can tolerate freezing temperatures, but can a tree freeze to death?

In this post, we answer this question and much more. Keep reading to learn how trees survive the winter and how the process works. In some cases, trees may die during harsh winters and require tree removal.

If you need help with tree removal, don’t hesitate to contact our team of experts at Nature’s Tree Removal. We’re the tree removal experts in the Woodlands, TX, area.

How Do Trees Survive in the Winter?

While it’s true that trees can freeze in the winter, it’s improbable that they will freeze to death. Young trees might experience winter damage or even death during winter, especially if they’re exposed to a hard freeze for extended periods. But most trees will survive even the most brutal winters.

Trees have developed several mechanisms to survive harsh weather conditions. A tree already gets half its weight from water. But even though water freezes on the outside, trees have ways of keeping the water from freezing on the inside to protect them from dying.

At What Temperatures Do Trees Freeze?

Because trees differ, the exact temperature at which they freeze varies based on factors such as species, location, and even height. Trees in colder climates are more accustomed to surviving in lower temperatures than their warmer-weather counterparts.

In addition to dropping leaves and slowing processes like metabolism, energy consumption, and cell growth, trees do plenty to keep their cells alive during frigid temperatures. Some trees stock their cells with water for use in various plant processes in preparation for winter. Once winter arrives, the trees move some of the stored water into the spaces between cells.

That way, they can control where ice forms and keep the inside of the cell from freezing. The relocated water freezes first, giving off some heat that helps keep the cells from freezing. The trees also turn the starch in their cells to sugar, which can lower the water’s freezing point and further protect the cells from freezing.

How Do Evergreens Survive in the Winter?

Unlike other trees, evergreen trees don’t need to drop their leaves to conserve water and survive through cold winters. Pine tree needles demand less water than trees with leaves. Even in super chilly conditions, pine tree evergreens can move water throughout their branches to nourish needles.

What Happens During Periods of Warm Weather During Winter?

During late winter or early spring, trees begin to emerge from dormancy. Things may take a turn for the worse if they start to produce leaves and grow fruit prematurely and the weather turns cold again. You may see signs of frostbite on the trees as brown or black leaves, flowers, buds, or fruit.

New leaves may also curl, twist, or wilt in frost conditions. In such cases, removing ice from the trees may seem reasonable, but this could cause further damage. Proper pruning during fall lowers the risk of potential storm injuries to a tree.

Now that you can answer the question, “Can a tree freeze to death?” you can rest easy knowing how trees protect themselves during cold temperatures. However, if you notice any broken branches, a leaning tree, or a destroyed portion of the tree’s crown, give us a quick call.

Quality Services You Deserve

At Nature’s Tree Removal, we’re proud to offer expert tree trimming services and other services. Get in touch with our team at (713) 824-9036 for winter care tips for your trees. Call today to learn more about what to do with leaning trees, and let us know how we can help.

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