Unless your tree has badly exposed roots, you can only see your tree’s trunk, branches, and leaves from day to day. What happens below the surface involves a lot of guesswork. Do you ever wonder what happens to your tree’s roots during the winter chill?
Do tree roots grow in the winter, or do they go dormant? As a seasoned tree service in Folsom, Mountain F. Enterprises Inc. delves deeper into how seasonal changes affect root growth.
Expected Tree Root Growth Through the Seasons
Thanks to the underground location of roots, typical tree root growth has proved challenging to study. However, with tremendous advancements in modern imaging technology, modern tree experts today have a much easier time of it. In fact, after several studies, forest ecologists and tree care experts agree on a generalized view of tree root growth happening throughout the four seasons.
Generally, experts describe the tree’s root activity through the seasons as periodic. The maximum growth rate is in late spring through early summer, as you might expect. Many trees also experience additional growth in early fall, but unlike aboveground parts that enter dormancy in winter, the tree’s roots remain ready to grow independently.
What Tree Root Activity in Winter Looks Like
Do tree roots grow in the winter? Your local climate will determine whether your tree roots will grow in winter. Primarily, it depends on whether the tree roots are in above-freezing temperatures underground (in which case, they can keep growing).
If ground temperatures where you live don’t drop to freezing, your tree’s roots will likely continue to grow, albeit at a slow rate. In particular, roots tend to slow growth rates as the soil temperature approaches 36°F. At this point, the roots go into dormancy and will only resume growth when the soil warms up.
This unique ability of root systems to overwinter and break dormancy when soil temperatures rise helps to keep individual trees and, by extension, forests healthy. This trait also helps your evergreens avoid winter desiccation (dropped needles) and allows all trees to expand their root systems in search of water and nutrients before spring bud break.
Bottom Line—Tree Roots Grow Year-Round
So, it’s possible that tree roots can grow a bit during winter. The roots stay dormant when temperatures hit freezing but regain activity as soon as soil temperatures rise, creating a conducive environment for root growth.
However, you can’t compare the significantly slower winter growth with the much faster spring growth.
Trust Your Local Tree Experts at Mountain F. Enterprises Inc.
Do tree roots grow in the winter where you live? If you’d like the answer and some general tips about root growth or tree specimens, you need a competent tree care contractor. If you need top-quality tree care in California, why not look to Mountain F. Enterprises Inc.’s certified team for the following tree care solutions?
- Utility vegetation management
- Tree removal services
- Forestry services
- Site preparation services and more