When Do Trees Go Dormant?

It is not uncommon to see trees beginning to change color and drop their leaves in the fall and winter months, but what’s actually happening during this time? Trees go through a period of dormancy, where they essentially “hibernate” during colder temperatures and survive harsh weather conditions until spring comes around again. 

So, when do trees go dormant? Leesburg’s trusted tree service company looks at dormancy in trees to help you understand when and why it happens. You will also learn how to help trees cope with these environmental changes. 

When Does The Dormant Season Begin?

So, when do trees go dormant? Generally, deciduous trees and shrubs enter dormancy in mid-October after they shed their leaves to conserve water and stop growth during the cold season. However, some tree species, such as beeches and oaks, keep their leaves for a little longer. Evergreen trees never fully go dormant, but the needles go through seasonal changes. 

It’s worth noting that there are two main types of tree dormancy:

  • Predictive dormancy occurs when deciduous trees, shrubs, and plants enter dormancy before the cold temperatures or the winter season sets in. The dropping autumn temperatures are the major trigger of predictive dormancy. 
  • Consequential dormancy occurs when deciduous trees enter dormancy after the onset of winter.
  • The dormant season usually ends when the average temperatures rise again, with organisms starting to bud. This is often in the early weeks of spring. 

Why Do Trees Go Dormant? 

Leaves are integral to the growth and survival of trees. They act as the trees’ solar panels, capturing the sun’s energy and pulling water from the roots to manufacture sugars through photosynthesis. 

With the coming shorter days characterized by colder temperatures and inadequate sunlight, deciduous trees shed their foliage in autumn to minimize water loss in winter. However, before the leaves fall, trees re-absorb resources from them, which they utilize for a flush of growth. 

You can take various steps to help your trees transition into the dormant season, including the following:

  • Watering: Giving trees sufficient water to prepare for the dormant season is critical. However, the amount usually depends on the tree species, age, and location. Generally, you should water the areas just around the trunk to the extent of the longest branches with a soaker hose. 
  • Mulching: Applying mulch at the base of your trees before temperatures drop in fall will help insulate the soil and provide a favorable environment for root development. Instead of bagging fall foliage, consider mixing them with your mulch or spread around the base of your trees to preserve nutrients. 
  • Short days/longer nights, reduction in soil temperature, and the amount of rainfall are other factors that promote dormancy in trees. 

Contact Your Local Tree Experts for Assistance

When do trees go dormant? This usually happens during the colder months, between mid-October and December. Do you need more information about tree dormancy or other valuable information about tree care, such as pruning young trees

Green Acres Tree Service & Land Clearing professionals are always ready to help. Contact us today at (229) 881-2538 to request an estimate for all your tree care needs in Albany, GA. 


We provide the best professional tree care services for residential  and commercial tree care in Albany, and surrounding areas of Southwest GA.


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