ALBANY, N.Y. (NEWS10) — Have you ever wondered how trees are able to survive freezing-cold temperatures through the winter? The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) has some answers.
During the winter, deciduous trees (ones that lose their leaves annually) are “dormant” and pause their active growth and food production. The DEC said all trees dehydrate their living cells so that they have less water inside them during winter. This is so the water that’s pulled out of the cells can freeze around the living cells without hurting them.
When this happens, the remaining water inside the cell has a higher concentration of sugar. The DEC said the sugar acts like an anti-freeze by lowering the freezing point of water inside the living cells. Trees also harden their cells to a glass-like texture, making it harder for the liquid in the cells to freeze.
Also, have you ever noticed that the snow usually melts around the bottom of a tree during the winter? The DEC said this is because tree bark is darker than the snow around it, so the bark absorbs heat from the sun better. When it does, it radiates heat back outward, which melts the snow around the trunk.
More information about the outdoors during the winter months can be found on the DEC website.