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All trees that shed their leaves on a yearly basis pass through a period of dormancy. That is a time when the dormant tree lacks the energy needed for growth.

What triggers a tree’s passage into dormancy?

• Colder temperatures in the air
• Colder temperature of the soil
• Shorter days and longer nights

During dormancy a tree must conserve and protect its water.

It might do that by mixing the water with nutrients and hormones. That helps to keep the water from freezing. Alternately, it could push the water into the spaces between the cells.

In tall trees, water works its way up by means of transpiration, which creates an anti-gravitational force. Arborist in Palo Alto will tell you that the water then enters the plant’s cells by means of osmosis, diffusion across the cell’s wall and membrane. The direction of water’s movement is determined by the potential of that same liquid. In other words, it moves from an area of high-water potential to one with a low water potential.

How the facts about dormant trees work to determine the optimum time for pruning and trimming.

The methods used for conserving and protecting the trees’ water prevents bleeding from a dormant tree. The absence of that bleeding means the absence of any substance that could attract insects or disease. That is why the winter and early spring is the best time for pruning and trimming.

What factors cause dormancy to end?

The temperatures warm up and remain at or above 45 degrees to 50 degrees Fahrenheit. If a period of such warmer temperatures were to be followed by some cooler ones, then that would create a state of eco-dormancy. There are certain regions of the United States where tree-owners must deal with the effects of eco-dormancy.

What are the significant effects of eco-dormancy?

When a tree was no longer dormant, it would have the energy needed for supporting growth. Hence, certain parts of that energy-filled plant could start to grow. If those same parts were to get exposed suddenly to cooler temperatures, they could exhibit a reaction to stress.

That reaction to stress might invite invasion of the tree by insects or disease. It could stunt the existing growth. In other words, it would threaten the tree’s health. Fortunately, there are ways to fight that threat, and to preserve the tree’s health.

One of those ways involves using mulch. Mulching limits the ability of weeds to grow in the soil surrounding the stressed plant/tree. It also maintains the temperature of the soil and helps the ground to retain any moisture. A second way calls for utilization of fertilizer. Fertilizer acts to supplement the organic matter, that can be found in mulch. Organic matter decays and feeds the roots.