Department of Energy Argonne National Laboratory Office of Science NEWTON's Homepage NEWTON's Homepage
NEWTON, Ask A Scientist!
NEWTON Home Page NEWTON Teachers Visit Our Archives Ask A Question How To Ask A Question Question of the Week Our Expert Scientists Volunteer at NEWTON! Frequently Asked Questions Referencing NEWTON About NEWTON About Ask A Scientist Education At Argonne Trees Staying Alive in Winter
Name: Dakota B.
Status: student
Age: 8
Location: N/A
Country: N/A
Date: 9/30/2003


Question:
How do trees stay alive in the winter?


Replies:
Some trees move their stored "food" nutrients below ground to their roots, and lose their leaves. These are called deciduous trees. An example is the sugar maple tree.

Other trees have needles like Christmas trees. These are called evergreen trees. The evergreen trees continue to use sunlight and carbon dioxide in the air to make food during the winter. The needle-like leaves are adapted for the cold temperatures and dry conditions of winter.

The deciduous trees will wait until spring, longer days and then the sap will rise again and leaves will grow and make more food and oxygen (photosynthesis) again.

Anthony Brach, Ph.D


Deciduous' in winter, become dormant during the winter. That means that growth and most cellular activity stop during cold weather. Leaf and flower buds are formed before frost that will begin growth again in the spring Sugars and other material in the cells of the buds and other living tissues keep them from freezing solid and being harmed. During the growing season the tree stores sugar so that there is a food supply to start growth in the buds again in the spring - that is the sugar that people "tap" to make maple syrup in the spring.

Photosynthesis and respiration slow down in winter in evergreen trees, but do not stop completely. The needles of evergreens have much smaller surface area and fewer pores than broad leaf deciduous trees, so they do not lose much water in winter. Because of cold, not much water is available to the trees in winter.

J. Elliott



Click here to return to the Botany Archives

NEWTON is an electronic community for Science, Math, and Computer Science K-12 Educators, sponsored and operated by Argonne National Laboratory's Educational Programs, Andrew Skipor, Ph.D., Head of Educational Programs.

For assistance with NEWTON contact a System Operator (help@newton.dep.anl.gov), or at Argonne's Educational Programs

NEWTON AND ASK A SCIENTIST
Educational Programs
Building 360
9700 S. Cass Ave.
Argonne, Illinois
60439-4845, USA
Update: June 2012
Weclome To Newton

Argonne National Laboratory