How Do Trees Survive Winter?

November 20, 2017

We rarely give much thought to our trees this time of year. Once they lose their leaves for winter, it’s easy to forget about them. But have you ever wondered how trees manage to deal with the bitterly cold Chicago weather? Keep reading to learn how trees survive winter.


In this article from Mother Nature Network, Eileen Campbell compares hibernation to dormancy. Keep in mind that with dormancy, everything within the plant slows down, from metabolism and energy consumption to growth and so on. Healthy trees have already finished up with the first part of dormancy, which is losing leaves. Since trees don’t make food in the winter, they have no use for leaves that would require energy to maintain. So what happens when a tree gets ready to shed their leaves? Well, a chemical known as Abscisic acid is produced at the tip of the stem that connects to the leaf (called terminal buds). Interestingly, Abscisic acid also suspends growth, effectively preventing cells from dividing. This action is another significant factor in dormancy for trees. The impeded growth saves a good deal of energy during the colder months when the tree isn’t making any new food for energy.

Take a moment to think about the hibernation comparison. Bears that hibernate store food as fat, meaning they can use it to run their essential systems during the winter, as opposed to growing anymore. Because a tree’s metabolism slows down during dormancy, their cell growth is impeded. It’s imperative for trees to use that conserved food slowly for the purpose of essential functions. If you have a small enough tree, you may think of keeping it inside until it warms up again in the spring. This isn’t the best thing for a tree, however. It’s natural for trees to go through dormancy cycles. Therefore, the lifespan of a tree could take a major hit if it’s not allowed to go dormant for a few months. Much like letting animals hibernate, we must let our trees undergo dormancy.


Hiring a tree care company is probably the last thing on your mind at the moment. That said, we can’t blame you for starting to look forward to warm weather again. At Pro Tree Service, we understand that tree trimming involves a great deal of precision and use of proper tools. The sad reality is that many homeowners and business owners don’t realize this. As a result, the health of their trees becomes compromised. It’s important to know that tree pruning/trimming may be required for the following reasons:

  • Significantly dead, damaged, and/or diseased branches
  • Overgrown trees that are too close to nearby properties and/or public use spaces, such as utility lines or roadways
  • Cosmetic needs

Our tree company routinely speaks with folks who make tree trimming a regular chore along with mowing the grass and tending their garden. Avoid falling into this trap, though. Significant, recurring tree care is not usually recommended, as the constant removal of branches and limbs can shorten the life of some trees.


There’s no question that removing trees, bushes, shrubs, and stumps is an incredibly physical task that carries a risk of damage to a person, property, or both. Not to mention, homeowners and business owners tend to shrug off tree removal because of cost. Rest assured that Pro Tree is committed to providing the best solutions at the most competitive rates through our Best Price Guarantee. Simply come to us with any reasonable, written estimate and we will beat it by 10 percent. Are you unsure if tree removal makes sense right now? Here are just a few things that warrant tree removal:

  • Natural splitting/cracking discovered in critical parts
  • Previous storm damage
  • Safety issues
  • Significant aging, bug infestation, and/or disease

Pro Tree has been serving Chicago and surrounding suburbs for nearly three decades. Fully licensed, bonded and insured, we can provide everything from tree trimming service to land and lot clearing. See what makes us the premier choice for tree care in the area. Never will you have to worry about hidden services, gimmicks, or fees.

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