When it comes to summertime lawn care the color green is highly-prized. However, during the fall and winter months, green is scarce and hard to come by here in North Texas. The colors most commonly associated with October and November are gold, brown, orange, red, and scarlet. When we get into December, the associated colors you think of may come from white snow, brown grass, blue ice, or red holiday decor. Being so far from summer, green may only be thought of when considering the Christmas tree.
Classic Christmas trees are considered evergreen conifers. Christmas trees are likely the most rememberable green tree during the colder months, while others, like oak trees, are left forgotten and shunned in the frozen air.
What Makes a Christmas Tree an Evergreen Conifer?
Coniferous trees are scientifically known as gymnosperms, the layman may use these descriptive words interchangeably. Gymnosperm means “naked seed” because they are bare to the elements of nature. Gymnosperms include conifers, cycades, and the living fossil gynkos.
Coniferous trees have several advantages in the wilderness. They have thin, needle-like leaves that are coated in a waxy cuticle to help prevent them from drying out, being eaten by birds and insects, and succumbing to damages from frost or winds over the winter. Because of their needle-like leaves, a lot of conifers are able to keep their leaves all year. When a tree is able to save its leaves throughout the entire year they are able to produce energy every day that there is enough sunlight to harness. This energy production allows for the trees to live in soils that have lower nutrients. It also makes them able to grow in higher elevations where temperatures are colder and stronger winds are common.
Although these trees have inherent benefits in the wild they also have one large setback, water distribution. Water distribution is slow in coniferous trees, for they only have one vascular system submerged deep within the tissues of the plant. While the vascular system remains safe, it also makes every element of the tree dependent on that one lifeline.
A good example of a conifer is the pine tree. They have a pinecone where the plant harbors its seeds. As the pinecone ages and dries, the scales of the cone will begin to retract from a lack of moisture allowing an opening large enough for the actual seed to drop out from the cone. This is what a lot of gymnosperms do and is how conifers have been able to maintain their populations through adversities for so long. This is a great example of how slow and steady can, indeed, win races.
What About My Beloved Texas Pecan Tree?
The state tree of Texas is the pecan tree. This tree couldn’t be a more perfect example of a deciduous tree. Pecan trees are part of the hickory family, they are angiosperms and are considered broad-leaved deciduous trees. Angiosperm, meaning “cased seed,” almost always has a seed contained inside of a flower or a fruit casing. Pecan trees are known to drop precious drupes from September to November which is just before they are expected to also drop their leaves (and when pecan pie is the best).
Being a deciduous tree comes with its benefits in nature. More often than not they have broad leaves with larger surface areas capable of absorbing more sunlight than conifers could dream of. This allows deciduous trees the ability to more easily grow underneath taller canopied trees as well as in other places conifers would not last.
A deciduous tree has to drop its leaves during the colder months, or in some cases, the dryer months of the year. Losing all your leaves in the winter is great when it comes to snow and ice. The tree will sacrifice its food manufacturing facilities to decrease its surface area over the winter when ice or snow are more likely to occur. Having leaves on a really long branch could make a difference of hundreds of pounds when considering the added weight of ice or snow. Having a leaf with more surface area is great for capturing sunlight but a detriment when it catches snow.
The downside to regrowing all of your energy-creating leaves is that it takes a lot of energy to create the leaves in the first place. Therefore, deciduous trees perform better in areas where the soil is full of nutrients. Since most of the nitrogen in the soil is locked up while the ground is frozen, deciduous trees wait until spring to begin regrowing their leaves.
Evergreen Conifers and Deciduous, Broad-Leafed Trees Have a Lot of Ins and Outs
Life wouldn’t be the same without coniferous or deciduous trees. While the deciduous trees are shedding their leaves in late fall/early winter, your personal coniferous tree will be keeping the inside of your home green. There are some rebel trees out there, like the baldcypress, a deciduous conifer, and the southern live oak, a broad-leaved evergreen, which make it likely that you will need to perform some leaf clean up for your deciduous trees.
In order to prevent pest issues and overcrowding of lawns from fallen leaves, we recommend picking up fallen leaves as soon as possible. Weed Xtinguishers offers this service so that you can remain in the comfort of your warm home. We’ll do the work of wrapping your deciduous trees’ “presents” in nice and neat recyclable, paper bags. Contact us today to schedule a leaf clean up for your deciduous trees.