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Article: Why do trees reject their leaves in the autumn?: Yay! Finally!.......and a question, too.

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Forum: Article: Why do trees reject their leaves in the autumn?Replies: 4, Views: 26
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Municipality of Murr, PA

November 12, 2012
8:59 AM

Post #9331105

Hi Carrie!
Finally an article that explains gently why we should not bag our leaves to go to the dump!
It's simple as that, neighbors-who-live-around-me, you actually DO have a place for those leaves! They are not common garbage! Please chop them up and retain them for the benefit of your trees; you mow every weekend there's no snow on the ground anyway.

So the question is: why do Pin Oaks hang on to their leaves until April? Anybody know?


Milton, MA
(Zone 6a)

November 12, 2012
11:26 AM

Post #9331246

I could look into that question...but if it takes longer than the article took to begin with, I'm giving up.

Believe it or not, when I began this piece, it was because I had just finished reading Burger's description of "the disposable leaf," and it made so much sense. It wasn't a pro-mulching, anti-lawn & leaf bag article when I started...I just got 3/4 of the way through and said "and the logical next step is?"

Thank you for reading, and for YOUR logical next question.
Huntsville, TX

November 12, 2012
11:59 AM

Post #9331268

Raising orchids made me very aware of the mineral content of water.It led me to consider how plants get rid of the many undesirable substances that they absorb and produce.They do not have kidneys to excrete them or livers to detoxify them,or sweat glands to expell them.Orchids ,if given to much mineral content will tend to first spot their leaves. If the excess continues they wilL burn the leaf starting at the tip ,and finally the leaf will die and be discarded. If the insult continues ,other leaves, and finally the whole plant dies.Many people kill their orchids with chlorinated-flourinated tap water.
It led me to wonder if "fall" does not represent the excretory function of trees.


Milton, MA
(Zone 6a)

November 12, 2012
1:13 PM

Post #9331329
I do NOT have access to this journal, but it seems that, as in the case of pin oaks, the habit of holding onto leaves is called "marcescence." Possibly it makes the tender shoots of the young growing tips in spring less scrumptious to large grazers if the yummy fresh tip is protected by a nasty old mouthful of scratchy dead leaves, goes one theory.

And jdmartin, thank you for your comment as well. I am not sure your analogy holds up all the way--trees don't die if they don't shed their leaves, for instance. That's not what you were saying, I know, but still. I'm not sure trees excrete anything they weren't busy using all summer--most deciduous trees are not container-bound, so they aren't obligated to 'process' anything they don't select to pick up. If you see what I mean. But your point is a fascinating one! I thank you.
Tucson, AZ

November 12, 2012
3:44 PM

Post #9331472

jdmartin, do you suppose that's what's causing the black spots on my stapelia carnosa? they don't look like bug spots and they have been protected from temperature swings, but the water here is very alkaline and full of dissolved solids.

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Other Article: Why do trees reject their leaves in the autumn? Threads you might be interested in:

SubjectThread StarterRepliesLast Post
Marvelous! abbeyrooney 1 Nov 12, 2012 6:49 AM
leaf mania reil 1 Nov 12, 2012 10:15 AM
leaves. odingod 1 Nov 12, 2012 12:27 PM
A different idea. KnuttNHoney 1 Nov 13, 2012 9:57 AM

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