News and Blog Articles
News and Blog Articles
Springtime is here! There are little blue and white wildflowers blooming in the grass, and the trees are sprouting new leaves and buds.
Or are they?
As you’ve probably noticed, not all trees are showing new leafy growth. In fact, some look just as dead as they have all winter.
Your first instinct might be that these trees are dead or diseased. But don’t cut them down just yet! There are a lot of different factors that go into knowing when a tree should be growing new leaves.
As a general rule, trees start to wake up after their winter dormancy once the temperatures start warming and the days get longer. For the Southeast, that’s as early as mid-March, and as late April.
But there isn’t any one specific day of the year when that happens. And when it does start to get warmer and the days longer, it’s not like flipping a switch. The shift happens gradually.
In addition to this, trees bloom and develop leaves at their own pace. Things like their species, size, age, and the availability of resources can direct how and when a tree starts to leaf out. Some trees might get the memo earlier than others, so they’ll start to bloom first. Other trees might take much longer to grow leaves, so the change is a bit delayed.
Birch and willow trees tend to bloom earlier than other species to get a head start on food production time. Oaks and elms, on the other hand, wait until the last minute to start budding, because the sudden drops in temperature in the spring can be especially damaging for them.
So how are you supposed to know if your tree is just getting a slow start, or if it’s actually in danger?
The first thing you can do to check on the health of your tree is just look at it. Get up close and examine those branches. Leaf buds, especially when they’re brand-new, are pretty small. If you’re looking from a distance, you might not be able to see them.
If you don’t see any buds, the next easy way to check a tree’s health is by bending the twigs. Healthy, living twigs will bend easily, and are difficult to break off without the use of cutting shears. Dead or dying twigs, on the other hand, will break in half, crack, or crumble. If you aren’t confident about the twig’s status after bending it, try a few more.
After bending a few twigs, if you still aren’t sure, you can cut a twig or two from the tree and examine the inside. Living twigs will be moist and colored some shade of green, depending on the species. Dead twigs will be dry on the inside, and will be a “lifeless” color (white, cream, grey, brown, ash, black, etc).
If you come across dead or dying twigs, it’s time worry. Check for other signs of decay, like insect burrow holes or rot. You can also give your friendly neighborhood arborist a call. We offer free estimates, and will come out and diagnose the problem for you.
But what if you don’t find anything wrong? The twigs are bendy and green on the inside. There’s no visible rot or insect burrow holes. But you also don’t see any new growth.
The best course of action here is to be patient. Give your tree some time to catch up. You’ll most likely begin to see those leaf buds peeking out in just a few weeks. If they don’t, we still do free estimates all summer long, so you can give us a call then and we’ll come check it out!
Emily Casuccio is sister and sister-in-law to Rebekah and Scott Rushing, and has over half a decade of experience in copywriting, copyediting, proofreading, and developmental storyboarding. She's worked with both published and undiscovered authors on both fiction and nonfiction, and takes pride in supporting local businesses. Her passion lies in the written word and helping authors of all capacities realize their dreams and achieve their fullest potential. To learn more about her, read samples of her work, or contact her, visit her online portfolio.