The clouds descended onto the ground, swallowing the land, tree tops first, and the snow swirled upon the wind before the horizon became entirely blurred.  A wondrous and eerie site.  Winter was beginning to flex her muscle.

Winter can be a brutal but beautiful season, chiseled from marble, dramatic yet austere.  In addition to its unique aesthetics, Winter forces nature, more specifically plants and trees, into creative, scientifically remarkable survival techniques, which are certainly being tested in the frigid temperatures this past week, and will almost certainly be tested again before Winter is over.

In early Fall when daylight begins to wane, plants begin early preparations for Winter, like leaf drop.  When the first frosts arrive, plants enter a form of dormancy called Endo Dormancy where all growth ceases.  This helps conserve energy and directs important nutrients to the root system or bulb.  But this is only part of it.  Because plants contain water, they must also battle the formation of ice in their cells, which is, most times, fatal.  Plants achieve this through “anti-freeze” proteins, much like salting an icy driveway or sidewalk.  The proteins combat water from freezing both in extra and intercellular spaces.  Plants also produce proteins called Dehydrins, which help combat dehydration and are released in response to cold and/or drought stress.  Evergreens are especially adept at fighting dehydration.  In addition to dropping needles, their thick, waxy coating helps reduce water loss.

Through conservation and physiological changes, some not completely understood, plants and trees are able to withstand winter’s wrath, mostly unscathed, and surprise us come Spring as if nothing more had occurred than a simple, Winter slumber.

Reach out to Sweeney’s with any of your winter related questions or concerns.   We proudly serve the communities of Villa Park, Elmhurst, Oakbrook, Oakbrook Terrace, Glen Ellyn, Lombard, Wood Dale, Itasca, and more!

Sweeney’s:  A Plant Based Company

Plant of the Week

Arctic Fire® Yellow Dogwood

Stunning ornamental shrub offers a ray of sunshine in Winter with bright yellow stems.  Sprays of white flowers bloom in late Spring amongst deep green foliage, followed by white berries.  Prefers shade to partial shade, and moist, well-drained soil.  Grows 4-6′ tall and 4-6′ wide.  Deer resistant.

“Winter should not be considered as only negation and destruction. It is a secret and inward working of powers, which in spring will burst into visible activity.”

~Henry James Slack

Warm wishes,

Kim Sweeney