Since pines and other conifers have needles instead of leaves, they can keep them over the winter instead of dropping them. Leafy trees must shed all of their leaves to prevent water loss in the drier winter season, but the shape of a needle minimizes water loss. And since they don’t have to drop their needles, they can continue to photosynthesize and grow (albeit at a slower rate) over the winter, while other leafy trees must wait for warmer, wetter weather to return.
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