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What happens to trees in the spring?

Updated July 19, 2017

In the spring, the days grow longer, animals return to feed and pollinate local plants and people begin to work in the garden again. Spring is a busy time for trees. Deciduous trees sprout leaves again, while coniferous trees create new growth. All trees grow taller. Spring is the time when sap flows, flowers bloom and trees begin to grow and reproduce.

Spring Temperatures and Light Trigger Growth

Winter is cold and dark. Trees need light and warmth to grow. This means that many trees become dormant during winter. In the spring, though, it begins to rain and the days become warmer and longer. Conditions are right for trees to grow.

Trees Move Water and Nutrients

One of the first things that happens in the spring is that tree roots spring into action, moving water and nutrients from the soil into the rest of the tree. Under the layer of bark, water begins to move. Soon, this water will mix with simple sugars, the result of photosynthesis. The result is called sap.

Buds Open

Tree buds open in the spring. These buds set in the summer and fall and the tree goes through the winter with unopened buds. In the spring, it's time for the tree to make food and reproduce. Leaves open and the tree uses chlorophyll, carbon dioxide, water and sunlight to create carbohydrates that act as food for the tree. Buds open and flowers come out. The trees spread pollen using wind or animals or floating seeds, allowing them to reproduce.

Trees Grow in the Spring

All of this activity allows trees to grow. In the spring and summer, trees add growth rings. By looking at a tree's old rings, you can see what summers were good and those with poor growing conditions. Gradually, the tree gets wider and taller.

Considerations

The emergence of spring flowers and leaves changes from year to year. In a warmer year, buds may open earlier. In a cooler year, the leaves and buds won't open as early. This minimises the damage from frost and maximises the light and nutrients the tree can create.

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About the Author

Anise Hunter began writing in 2005, focusing on the environment, gardening, education and parenting. She has published in print and online for "Green Teacher," Justmeans and Neutral Existence. Hunter has a Bachelor of Arts in English from the University of British Columbia and a Master of Resource Management in environmental science from Simon Fraser University.