Trees are beautiful… and let’s face it—we need them on our planet. We appreciate their beauty and shade but when you see someone’s yard with no trees in it, most likely that’s because they did not want to bother with cleaning up leaves. However, there are trees and shrubs that do not shed their leaves or if they do, it is minimal.
So why do trees lose their leaves? Wouldn’t it be nice if they just stayed green year-round? Well, the culprit is temperature. When temperatures drop in the autumn, a tree begins to go dormant. The movement of the sap slows down and the tree is, for lack of a better description, asleep. Its leaves do not receive the nutrition they need and so they dry up and fall off. When springtime arrives and the tree wakes up and begins to flourish, new leaves begin to grow. All deciduous trees have leaves that change color and drop from the tree in autumn. But coniferous trees adapt to low nutrient levels and so are able to keep their needles, which don’t require as much nutrition as bigger, greener, lusher leaves.
If you would love to have more trees in your yard then there are some good choices for you to avoid too much raking.
You can plant citrus trees in large pots and they will not drop their leaves in the fall. However, come October or November you will have to bring the tree inside for the winter. Lemon, lime, orange and grapefruit trees all retain their leaves but of course do better in a warmer climate. Eucalyptus can also be potted and brought in for winter.
Coniferous trees add beautiful greenery to your yard without leaves. You can choose from spruce trees, junipers, hemlocks, pine trees, first, and cedar trees. Your landscape professional can advise you regarding the type of soil and care that is best for these trees. Also, some varieties drop less needles than others so do your homework.
Some other trees you can consider for minimal leaf-dropping:
Flowering Crab Apple (choose small fruit)
All Oak trees keep their leaves longer than other deciduous trees so leaf-raking period is shorter
It is interesting to note that environmental factors—stress factors—have an impact on trees dropping their leaves. If there are stressors found in highly populated areas such as air pollution, salt in the soil that was used to melt snow and ice or industrial pollution—heavy metals present in the soil—or a lot of pesticides in the area—any of these can trigger an individual tree to drop its leaves. This is why you’ll notice that a tree planted beside the sidewalk on a downtown street will lose its leaves sooner than the same type of tree planted in the city park in the middle of a green space. Personally, we think that the visual appeal of a tree is worth the raking – and it’s physical exercise, which can’t hurt you!