Do some trees need a cold winter?

Discussion in 'Homesteading Questions' started by DixyDoodle, Jan 5, 2007.

  1. DixyDoodle

    DixyDoodle stranger than fiction

    Nov 15, 2005
    Eastern Ontario, Canada
    This may sound like a silly question, but I was reading an article in the news yesterday about how the maple syrup producers are concerned that it might not be a good year for syrup because of the lack of cold weather. At least, they are starting to get concerned...apparently, there is still time for the cold to set in and make things right.

    Several of the tree farmers said that because of the warm weather, the tree crowns were not doing well. I don't understand how that works. Is it because the trees get 'confused' and start to bud out, and then if a cold snap hits, the tree suffers? Other farmers said, no, it won't make much difference, and that the trees only look poor because of the ice storm several years ago, which caused a lot of crown damage.

    So which is it? Do some trees actually benefit from a colder winter? I always assumed that if it was warmer, and stayed that way, the trees would actually do better? :shrug:

  2. haypoint

    haypoint Unpaid, Volunteer Devil's Advocate Supporter

    Oct 4, 2006
    Northern Michigan (U.P.)
    Maple tree sap flows freely with below freezing temperatures at night and above freezing during the day. It is too early for normal sap flow, but this crazy weather could start the flow early and reduce the amount available later. If the tender buds do start to swell and then we return to normal hard winter conditions, the buds could be damaged. The tree can produce another set, so this weather won't kill healthy trees. The new wood, last year's growth, can be damaged by sudden onset of very cold weather. Apple trees need a cold period or they won't set fruit the next summer. I'm sure we've had enough cold so that shouldn't be a concern.

  3. YuccaFlatsRanch

    YuccaFlatsRanch Well-Known Member Supporter

    May 3, 2004
    Hill Country, Texas
    Fruit trees need varying amounts of coiuld to break dormancy. The trick is to match the number of hours the tree needs to the average number of hours your area gets. If you plant a fruit tree with too low a chill hour requirement it blooms too early and the buds freeze. Plant one with too high a chill hour requirement and it doesn't properly break dormancy and won't fruit.
  4. hillsidedigger

    hillsidedigger Well-Known Member

    Sep 19, 2006
    NC/Blue Ridge foothills
    Cold weather is required for the pests of many types of trees to be held in check.
  5. Aintlifegrand

    Aintlifegrand Well-Known Member

    Jun 3, 2005
    Mnany fruit trees need X number of chilling hours to produce fruit. Cherries and Apples are two I believe. That's why I can't grow cherries here in La. because my winter isn't cold enough/long enough.