When deciduous trees lose their leaves, it helps them conserve energy over the winter and avoid damage to the tree. As the days get shorter towards the beginning of autumn, trees have less sunlight for photosynthesis. As the leaves stop producing chlorophyll, they start to change color. Secretion of ethylene and abscisic acid within the tree causes the leaves to be severed from the living tree, and the leaves eventually fall off. If the leaves are allowed to rest near the base of the tree, they will form a mulch to provide nutrients for the roots.
Courtesy of Bill Nye, trees begin dropping their leaves in response to changing daylight conditions. Specifically, they respond to lengthening nights rather than shortening days. Trees drop their leaves to protect themselves against the old, dry weather of winter. Leaves are porous and lose water easily, so deciduous trees get rid of them altogether. Evergreen varieties, in comparison, have waxy needle-like leaves that retain water no matter the weather.
All trees lose their leaves when the leaves are getting too old. Deciduous trees lose their leaves either when it is winter for cool-climate areas or during the dry season for tropical plants. Temperate deciduous trees lose their leaves because of cooling temperatures. They are dormant in the winter, meaning they do not absorb light to produce energy during that season. Tropical deciduous trees lose their leaves because of the dry season. Leaves let a lot of moisture escape, so losing the leaves for the dry season is an adaptation that allows the trees to survive.
Trees fall from deciduous trees in the autumn when leaf senescence is triggered by photoperiodism. In other words, leaves respond to the amount of light that reaches them and as the days get shorter, trees “decide” to send nutrients to the protected stems and roots and thus shed some of their leaves. Senescence is part of the dormancy process that slows metabolism and helps to minimize damage caused by cold winter weather.
During other times of the year, leaves fall for a variety of reasons. If leaves are damaged enough for the cells to stop functioning properly or if they are not receiving enough nutrients, they will die.
That first word was supposed to be leaves. My apologies.
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