How Seasons Change A Tree’s Behaviour

How Winter Affects Trees

Environmental factors in winter that affect trees include:

  • Storms – branches can be broken in storms, creating wounds and entry points for pathogens. 
  • Snow and ice – weigh down branches, causing them to break
  • Dry air – makes it difficult for trees to retain water

To protect themselves from the harsh elements, trees perform dormancy preparations before the arrival of winter. 

  • Trees also produce hormones to tackle the dehydration that winter can bring. To combat frozen cells, tree cells are infused with proteins that work as a sort of ‘antifreeze’ to protect vulnerable cells. 
  • Deciduous trees form a layer of scar tissue (abscission zone) amongst the leaf and the branch, which ensures protection of the tree and safe shedding of its leaves. 

How Spring Affects Trees

Environmental factors in spring that affect trees include:

  • Increased sunlight – encourages trees to grow leaves so that they can make food. As the tree begins to take in sunlight, leaves and buds grow, which in turn, allows for photosynthesis.
  • Ground softens and the soil retains water – roots begin to expand and lengthen in search of water to aid tree and leaf growth.

To adapt to the new environment that spring brings, trees start to take down their barriers and get ready for the growing season.

  • As the trees detect the rise in temperature, buds and leaves start to grow in order to start the cycle of chlorophyll production – this process helps to repair damages from the winter too. 

How Summer Affects Trees

Environmental factors in summer that affect trees include:

  • Temperature – when temperatures climb too high, the growth of a tree slows
  • Pollution – in summer, levels are typically higher which can poison trees and make them vulnerable to disease

When the summer months are too hot, the tree’s ability to photosynthesise slows or stops completely during the hottest parts of the day. The tree does this to protect itself and save energy as the enzymes are unable to work efficiently in such a climate. Furthermore, precipitation and soil moisture levels are low in summer, which means the tree must conserve energy and resources to survive.

How Autumn Affects Trees

Environmental factors in autumn that affect trees include:

  • Less sunlight – causing leaves to change colour and drop off. Leaves typically reflect green light rather than absorb it, which gives leaves their green colour. On deciduous trees in autumn time, the leaves start to absorb green light instead which means that the other pigments of colours can now be seen in a leaf – this is why you’ll see leaves change colour in autumn. 

Deciduous trees become dormant as leaves drop off but roots continue to grow making this a good time to plant new trees.


Here at Artemis Tree Services we specialise in all types of tree works, all season round. Our award winning tree surgeons operate throughout Rickmansworth, Watford and the wider London area, please don’t hesitate to get in touch today.