Spring ... when tree buds become leaves

Print Article

  • Photo by DON BARTLING In spring the tiny bright green leaves of many trees burst forth from their buds as in this black cottonwood tree by the Kootenai River.

  • 1

    Photo by DON BARTLING The arrival of warm temperatures in April and May induces trees to open their buds. Usually the timing is appropriate, though unseasonable early warmth can sometimes fool trees, but they can temporarily stop if cold temperatures return.

  • Photo by DON BARTLING In spring the tiny bright green leaves of many trees burst forth from their buds as in this black cottonwood tree by the Kootenai River.

  • 1

    Photo by DON BARTLING The arrival of warm temperatures in April and May induces trees to open their buds. Usually the timing is appropriate, though unseasonable early warmth can sometimes fool trees, but they can temporarily stop if cold temperatures return.

“The finest qualities of our nature, like the bloom on fruits, can be preserved only by the most delicate handling.”

— Henry David Thoreau

People go to sleep at night and wake up in the morning. Trees go to sleep every autumn and wake up in the spring.

It is springtime, which means that tree buds are beginning to open up and leaves are growing.

During winter trees appear to be bare and dead. They are not in fact dead, but are dormant. That means they are just resting and waiting until conditions are more favorable for them to be active again. Those favorable conditions — warmer temperatures and longer days with more sunlight — happen in the springtime. Those buds are actually on the tree all winter long and aren’t just there in the spring when the trees are budding.

During the winter the tree does not have any leaves, so it cannot make its own energy. At the end of summer, the last new leaves the tree makes will become the buds that protect the tree all winter long. These winter buds contain all the tree will need to start growing again once it is spring.

Trees have these terminal buds on the tips of the twigs all winter long in order to protect the tree from the freezing cold temperatures of winter. Those buds serve as a barrier to keep the cold out and prevent the inner parts of the tree from freezing and dying.

In the spring time, when the temperatures have warmed up and the days are longer, the trees begin to come back to life. One of the first signs that the trees are no longer dormant and are active again is that the tree buds open up and new leaves begin to grow.

It may be true that the trees are “budding” in the spring, but in fact those buds have been on the tree all winter long.

Fun Tree Bud Facts

1. By the time a tree’s leaves drop in the fall, its leaves for the next spring are already formed.

2. Tiny leaves, stems, and sometimes flowers are located in packages called buds.

3. Buds are made of tough scales that form a waterproof case.

4. In the spring, sap rises from the roots to the branches; the scales fall off the buds; and the tree’s leaves, stems, and flowers unfurl and grow.

5. During the summer, the tree begins to develop new buds for the following year.

Spring is a wonderful time to go outside in Boundary County. When walking through a wooded area, take a moment to observe trees, twigs, branches and buds.

Print Article

Read More Outdoors

Evening grosbeaks: Magnificent but elusive

September 12, 2019 at 6:00 am | Bonners Ferry Herald Last weekend I was scanning the ponderosa pines surrounding my bird feeders when some unfamiliar birds caught my eye. I reached for my Nikon with my 600 mm lens to take a picture of the birds. Sudden...

Comments

Read More

Quaking aspen: Trees in the breeze

September 05, 2019 at 6:00 am | Bonners Ferry Herald “Willows whiten, aspens quiver, little breezes dusk and shiver.” — Alfred Lord Tennyson Quaking aspen (Populus tremuloides) grow in Boundary County and is the most widely-dispersed tree in North...

Comments

Read More

The majestic white pelican

August 29, 2019 at 6:00 am | Bonners Ferry Herald “And to lose the chance to see a file of pelicans winging their way homeward across the crimson afterglow of the sunset, or a myriad terns flashing in the bright light of midday as they hover in a sh...

Comments

Read More

The beetle with long horns!

August 22, 2019 at 6:00 am | Bonners Ferry Herald Last week while barbecuing on my deck I was suddenly alarmed by an uninvited guest that flew in and landed on my deck floor beside the table next to the grill. The big bug started screeching an alarm...

Comments

Read More

Contact Us

(208) 267-5521
Po Box 539
Bonners Ferry, Id 83805

©2019 Bonners Ferry Herald Terms of Use Privacy Policy
X
X