The Leaf: A Tree’s Adaptable Power Source

Whether still on the tree or fluttering to the ground with a light autumn breeze, leaves are all around us. You and I may pay little attention to them, but leaves are very important for trees. Therefore, we’ve rounded up a few interesting facts about a tree’s source of energy!

A leaf’s purpose is to absorb sunlight and convert it into food for the tree. Leaves will grow as big as water allows, but not too much so that the plant will overheat. Each plant has different shaped leaves depending on what it needs in the environment. Plants with sharp-angled leaves are often found on plants that experience intense sunlight. The sharp angles can help the leaf to shade itself so that it doesn’t absorb too much sunlight. Rounder leaves can absorb more light.

Naturally, leaves will adjust to their surroundings. Moving a plant or a tree to a different area can cause its leaves to change sizes or thickness. A thinner leaf means that there is a smaller distance for carbon dioxide to diffuse into the leaf.

Leaves are green due to chlorophyll which is used during photosynthesis. When fall and winter begin to approach, the plant will store its food in the tree instead of the leaves and the chlorophyll will break down. As a result, the leaves turn into gorgeous yellows, reds, and oranges!

Once it gets colder, the leaves will fall off the trees because they contain water and can’t survive freezing temperatures. But as the leaves fall to the ground, they break down and provide nutrients for the tree through the soil. Once springtime comes around again, they help the ground absorb water.

So whether on the tree or on the ground, leaves are very important to the health and life of a tree. It’s normal for them to change depending on the environment they are placed in. This is a benefit of growing new leaves each year; damaged or old leaves can fall off and be replaced by new ones that have grown specifically for the tree’s surroundings. If you have any questions about the trees or plants in your yard, we have friendly, knowledgeable staff at Fossil Creek Nursery that can help! 970.226.3410