Wondering Why?

Why do evergreens keep their leaves?

Evergreens are trees that are literally green for the entire year.  Trees classified as evergreens are able to keep their lives even during winter time.  As its name suggests, these types of trees are “ever” or “always” green regardless of the season.  Other trees meanwhile, like deciduous trees, shed most or all of their leaves during winter time.  The contrast between these two types of trees has made people wonder on why evergreens get to keep their leaves despite the snow and cold weather during the winter months.  One big reason for this is that evergreens are able to shed their leaves regularly for the entire year.  This means that these trees keep most of their leaves all year round regardless of the weather.  Other trees meanwhile have a seasonal way of shedding leaves.  For deciduous trees, the shedding of all leaves are done starting in autumn and by winter time, all leaves will be gone.

Lots of evergreen trees like pine trees for example have very thin needle-like leaves with small surface areas.  With these kinds of leaves, the tendency for water to evaporate becomes lower when compared to leaves with big surface areas.  When the evergreens are able to retain water through their leaves, there will also be fewer tendencies for them to fall off even during winter.  With the leaves kept healthy all year round, they will also be able to survive all year round.  The leaves of evergreen trees are still able to produce food with the help of the sun on all seasons of the year.  Even if the process is slower during winter time, with enough leaves to do the food-production, most of them will stay on and not shed from the branches.

Other experts also point to the triangular shape of most evergreen trees.  With this kind of shape, many evergreens are able to shed off snow that may cover up their leaves and prevent them from getting sun exposure.  And with leaves that are mostly thin needles, most of them are able to stay healthy and green all year.

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