All Things Gardening forum: Marcescent Trees

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Name: Frank Richards
Clinton, Michigan (Zone 5b)

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Nov 22, 2016 4:46 PM CST
I have several Oak trees and I have noticed that they tend to hold on to their leaves through the winter. Now I know why.
Name: greene
Savannah, GA (Sunset 28) (Zone 8b)
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Nov 22, 2016 5:20 PM CST
Thanks you! That was very informative. Thumbs up
I had always thought the Oak trees were mocking me as I stood in the yard raking Maple leaves. Thanks to you I now know that the Oaks meant no disrespect. Rolling on the floor laughing
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Name: Rick R.
near Minneapolis, MN, USA zon
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Nov 22, 2016 6:28 PM CST
Some trees I grow were specifically chosen with that trait in mind. Others were chose specifically at the opposite end of the spectrum (dropping leaves early). Realize that marcescence should not be confused with leaves freezing prematurely on the tree. Marcescent trees still complete the natural chemical changes that occur within the leaves at the end of the growing season, just like trees with leaves that drop in the autumn. Those with leaves that freeze green or in color on the tree do not.
Name: Sandy B.
Ford River, Michigan UP (Zone 4b)
(Zone 4b-maybe 5a)
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Nov 22, 2016 7:22 PM CST
Thanks for sharing that, Frank -- very interesting! Although we don't have any oaks on our property, there are plenty in the area and I've also noticed that they are the last to drop their leaves. Never thought to actually look it up, though...
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Name: Tiffany purpleinopp
Opp, AL ๐ŸŒต๐ŸŒทโš˜๐ŸŒน๐ŸŒป (Zone 8b)
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Nov 27, 2016 8:52 AM CST
This is interesting. I've wondered about oak tree leaves not falling off as well. I noticed the late raking & was frustrated by the extended shade when not wanted/needed.

Marcescence drives me nuts regarding potted plants. Members of Commelinaceae family seem to be the most frustrating. The leaves stay on after they brown & shrivel & resist tugging when first noticed & often the stem will break instead of the leaf letting go. It's like they prefer to fall when they decide, determined to hit the floor. But in a survival sense, it makes sense because fallen pieces can take root easily. Doesn't apply to an oak tree.

Syngoniums also come to mind, clinging stubbornly to shriveled leaves.
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