Defoliation and dormancy are justifiable | Tony Tomeo | Home & Garden

Defoliation and dormancy begin early in a significant number of species in desert and chaparral climates.

The California Buckeye sheds its leaves during the driest summer weather, sheds its leaves again in the fall, and again in the winter. increase.

Many more species do what they have to do to survive the winter.

As a result, many plant species drop their leaves during winter dormancy. They drop leaves when they are more likely to be a liability than an asset. Like dormant summer plants, they react to unavoidable and potentially harmful weather.

It also responds to seasonal changes in sunlight. Plant species are very sensitive.

With a few exceptions, deciduous plants are non-coniferous or broadleaf. There are more endemic species in areas north and south of the tropics than within the tropics. They know that during the winter, while the sun is at a lower angle, the sunlight gets weaker and the day length gets shorter.

Their defoliation coincides with the lowest usefulness of foliage.

Most deciduous plant species are also aware of the types of weather they may encounter in winter. Cold and stormy weather with wind and rain or snow is probably familiar to them. They know that not only are the leaves susceptible to damage, but so are the associated stems.

A leaf is the source of almost all wind resistance within the leaf canopy that suspends it.

Such wind resistance causes the wind to move limbs and blow away vegetation, especially while the soil is wet from rain. Defoliation eliminates many such risks before the windiest and therefore most dangerous winter storms. Bare stems are more aerodynamic than leaves.

Defoliation seems to occur at the optimum time just before winter weather. Exposure to warming sunlight also increases during the darkest and coldest months of the year. But defoliation is also troublesome and the weather is bad for those who go raking. If you don’t rake it up early, it will clog the most important rain drainage.


The most common of several species of cottonwood native to California seems like a no-brainer. Populus deltoides is an eastern cottonwood.

This name means that it is native to the region, mainly in the east. Yet it is found naturally in all American states except Hawaii and Alaska.

It’s just a cotton willow because it’s familiar to the locals.

It grows naturally in riparian ecosystems and occasionally creeps into adjacent landscapes. It is seldom obtained intentionally. Cottonwoods are fast-growing and too large for sophisticated home gardens. It is more effective as a magnificent shade tree in parks and city waterways.

As a riparian species, it requires either a riparian ecosystem or irrigation.

Mature cottonwood trees are about 100 feet tall and wide when exposed. The bark has fine furrows. The yellow fall color of deciduous trees can be surprisingly vivid in dry climates or when rainfall is slower than frost.

Vigorous trees may be susceptible to spontaneous limb failure, which may justify aggressive pruning. Roots may be greedy.

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