Why Do Evergreens Stay Green in the Winter?

Do you ever catch yourself wondering why Evergreen trees stay green and don’t lose all their needles during the winter? It’s actually quite a complex process, let us explain…

Leaves are Fragile

Here in Minnesota, we know that fall is when the leaves change color and drop to the ground. As we take in the beautiful scenery of the leaves changing colors, the leaves are undergoing chemical changes. The green chlorophyll is fading and creating the fall-colored pigments of bright red, golden yellow, and light brown. The leaves then fall to the ground and the nutrients left in them are absorbed into the soil.

Twigs, stems, needles, and buds can survive the winter unlike the fragile leaves. Most evergreen trees are cone bearing with needles that stay on the tree for years and only fall off due to old age. These needles that fall off from old age are replenished quickly, so the tree never goes completely bare like deciduous trees.

Chemicals inside a Tree

Chlorophyll is what keeps the needles green. Rather than shutting down chlorophyll production in the winter like deciduous trees, evergreen trees expend the needed energy to sustain it.

Evergreen trees also make their own “antifreeze” to protect the needles from ice damage. sugar, jasmonic acid, and ethylene become more concentrated within the cells of the needles during the winter which depresses the freezing point of water. All of this happens within the needles to make sure that photosynthesis can still take place during the winter months.

Evergreen trees that stay green throughout the year:

  • Pine
  • Fir
  • Spruce
  • Juniper
  • Cedar

If you notice that your evergreen tree is not green, and instead it’s turning brown, you should contact Ivan’s Tree Service. We have tree experts that can help with your tree questions and concerns. Reach out by calling or texting 651-485-8670 today.