What Are Deciduous Trees And Shrubs: Types Of Deciduous Trees And Shrubs
Caring for deciduous plants in the landscape isn’t difficult. These interesting shrubs and trees add vibrant blooms in spring and summer, colorful foliage in fall, and then drop their leaves prior to a restful winter’s nap. Keep reading to learn more about the life cycle of deciduous plants and what are deciduous trees and shrubs grown for.
What are Deciduous Trees and Shrubs?
Deciduous trees and shrubs are some of the most beautiful elements in the home landscape. They range in size, form, and color and shed their leaves each fall before they go to sleep for the winter. The term deciduous is a fitting name for these plants as the word means, “tending to fall off.” Deciduous shrub varieties and trees shed the part that they no longer need to survive for the season.
Many types of deciduous trees add a great deal of interest to the landscape and serve a number of practical roles that include providing shade and reducing soil erosion.
Why Do Deciduous Plants Lose Their Leaves in Autumn?
The life cycle of deciduous plants includes a growing season and a dormant season. Warm spring temperatures and rainfall wake deciduous plants from their slumber and they begin to form new leaf buds. As temperatures continue to warm, the leaves develop more fully and reach maturity by the time summer arrives.
Leaves produce food for the plant and help with respiration. As temperatures begin to cool, deciduous plants instinctively begin to shut down food production and leaves change colors due to the lack of chlorophyll and drop to the ground.
It is due to this stage of the lifecycle that we get to enjoy the spectacular display of color each fall. Cold temperatures and a lack of moisture force deciduous plants into a deep slumber. This dormancy protects deciduous plants from extreme winter weather.
Caring for Deciduous Plants
Fall is the best time to plant deciduous plants as this gives them plenty of time to become acclimated before hot and dry weather arrives. Many deciduous plants including shrubs, fruit, and ornamental trees require pruning in order to thrive. It is imperative that you understand the pruning needs of your particular plants so that you can help them reach their full growing potential.
Early spring fertilization also helps give deciduous plants a seasonal boost and often encourages prolific blooms on flowering varieties. Provide plenty of water during dry spells for new deciduous plants and check regularly for pest infestation or disease.
Types of Deciduous Trees
When selecting deciduous trees for your landscape, be sure that you choose varieties that are suitable for your growing region. Although many deciduous trees such as maples, birch, willow, oak, and hickory are big, there are a number of smaller or ornamental deciduous trees that make an excellent addition to the home landscape.
Popular flowering trees include crepe myrtle, dogwood, and redbud. Fruit trees such as apple, pear, plum, and peach make a lovely and tasty addition to any garden and are often available in dwarf sizes, perfect for those with limited space.
Deciduous Shrub Varieties
Deciduous shrubs are often planted for their seasonal interest, color, and texture. Popular use of many deciduous shrub varieties includes windbreaks, privacy screens, or wildlife habitats. Popular deciduous shrub varieties include barberry, butterfly bush, and azalea.
List of Deciduous Fruit Trees
Deciduous fruit trees are fruit trees that lose their leaves at the end of the growing season. This usually takes place in winter and the plant remains dormant until spring when new leaves develop. The leaves of deciduous trees change color in the autumn just before they fall off due to a decrease in chlorophyll pigment production.
The fig tree is a large, deciduous tree that resembles a shrub. The tree is native to Asia and can grow up to 33 feet tall. The leaves are large and grow up to 10 inches long with three to five lobes. Figs grow up to 4 inches long and have a leathery green skin that turns brown or purple when ripe. Fig trees are fairly easy to grow and prefer partial shade to full sun and well-drained soils. They must be protected from extreme cold.
- Deciduous fruit trees are fruit trees that lose their leaves at the end of the growing season.
- Fig trees are fairly easy to grow and prefer partial shade to full sun and well-drained soils.
What is a tree?
In botany (the study of plants) trees are defined as a perennial plant with an elongated trunk or stem which supports leaves and branches . (Perennial plants live for multiple years, as opposed to annual plants which have a life cycle of only one season.) However, this is a slightly limited definition, as the term “tree” can be extended to include any woody plant with branches and a trunk that grows significantly taller than the plants around it.
Tree branches are supported by a large and strong trunk, which extends underground. Beneath, the trunk extends into roots which spread widely to collect nutrients and moisture and provide support to the structure above ground. The branches which extend from the top of the trunk divide into smaller shoots, which spread to produce leaves. Leaves collect sunlight to convert into energy via photosynthesis, feeding the growth and development of the tree.
The trunk of a tree is its strongest part, made from a woody tissue that supports the weight of the canopy. Tree trunks also contain vascular tissue, which carries nutrients from one part of the plant to another. Most types of trees also have a layer of bark around the trunk, which acts as an additional protective shield. These are the general characteristics that fit every type of tree, but of course, this family of plants is hugely varied.
There are two primary categorizations that all trees fit into, and the difference between these two is the first thing you need to identify. Most people already recognize the distinction between these different types of trees, but we’ll still go into detail about how you can identify them. Read on to discover which trees lose their leaves, and what species are green all year round.
10 words you need to learn to sound like a gardening expert
Follow this jargon-busting guide!
Does it sometimes sound like gardening experts are speaking a foreign language? Switch on Gardeners' World on the BBC and you'll hear words like 'mulch', 'herbaceous' and 'hardy' bandied about, but how many of you know what those words mean?
This specialised language is keeping many people away from gardening, but it doesn't have to. Here's a jargon-busting guide from garden designer Caroline Tilston on the 10 most common - and commonly confusing - garden words.
Soil isn't all the same. Some areas of the country have acidic soil, some alkaline. This difference is to do with the underlying subsoil and what's naturally in the soil.
Does it matter? Well not normally. There are a few plants which are really partial to one or the other but most will happily do in either. If you want to grow camellias, heathers, rhododendrons or azaleas it is worth checking as these plants really love acid soil. It's easy enough to buy a kit from the garden centre to test your soil.
Annual plants complete their whole life cycle in a single year going from seed to plant and back to seed. But perennials will live for more than one year – either above ground, like a tree or a rose, or it will survive below ground through winter like a delphinium or hosta and come the following year.
It matters most to know which are annuals, so if it disappears and doesn't come back, you don't think you've killed some poor plant. If you sow or buy in cosmos, nigella, corncockles or poppies they won't come up the following year. The best you can hope for is that their seeds find a good spot and grow up again next year from there.
Evergreen plants will retain their leaves throughout the year, deciduous plants lose them all in winter. This distinction is usually most important for screening in the garden, so it's often relevant to know if the hedge you want to put in is evergreen or deciduous. If you need a good barrier all year round go for evergreen hedges like laurel, yew or holly. If you don't mind the leaves falling off in winter go for deciduous plants like hornbeam, beech and hawthorn.
You see this word on compost bags at the garden centre. It means acidic, so the compost in the bag is acidic. Fill containers with it and it will be possible to grow things like camellias, heathers and azaleas even in areas with alkaline soil. Just one thing to look out for - many ericaceous composts are made from peat, the supply of which is damaging wetlands, so look, if possible, for peat-free compost.
Mulch is a layer of loose material you put on top of your soil. It's usually bark chippings but it can be decorative materials like slate or cobbles. The main reason to put it on the surface is to make the soil look nicer. It can also reduce the number of weeds coming up and some people say it conserves moisture in the soil as well as protecting the roots of plants from cold in winter.
So all in all it's a good thing to do, however, just be a bit careful if you have birds in your garden – they often peck at the bark chippings and spread them all over the lawn, it can be a never-ending job to put it back on the beds.
A hardy plant is one which will survive being left outside over winter. Most plants you think of are hardy – roses, trees, hedges - they all just get on with it and go through our winters and sprout again come spring.
What really matters is if the plant is tender, that is, not hardy, these plants may not survive outside through winter. So if you have things like tree ferns, French lavender, bay plants in pots or phormiums or some agapanthus in the garden, it would be wise to put fleece over them for the winter or bring them undercover.
When a plant is herbaceous it usually means it has a non-woody top and, come winter, this above ground growth dies away, so the plant survives through the cold season underground, to pop up again next spring.
A traditional herbaceous border is full of these plants and they typically give wonderful summer shows: foxgloves, acanthus, anemones and red hot pokers.
What's the difference between compost and soil? Garden soil contains a lot of rocks and minerals, and they make the soil heavy so plants will be able to anchor themselves into it. But normally, as a gardener, you are trying to get more food into the soil and make the soil a bit better drained. This is where compost comes in. Compost is made from rotting down manure, leaves and vegetable matter. If you buy bags of compost it will include other ingredients like coconut husks (coir) or wood shavings. All of these are mixed in various quantities to give a substance with lots of lovely food, a wonderful ability to hold water but also to drain well, and enough stickiness to allow plants to anchor themselves.
Pruning really just means cutting, so if you prune your roses you are cutting them back. There are lots of different reasons to prune – to get rid of dead wood, to encourage more flowers or fruit the next year, to improve the shape of the plant or you may just find yourself with a plant that is overgrown and in the way. A good rule of thumb (and there are exceptions to these rules) is, if you are pruning to encourage more flowers, cut the plant immediately after it flowers. But if you are doing a major cut back to reshape the plant do it early in the spring so that the plant can recover quite quickly with new growth. If it's a precious plant and you're not sure about what you are doing, either get advice or just cut back part of the plant and see how that reacts. There's usually a back and a front to a plant – so cut away at the less seen parts to test the waters and see if it grows back. A good set of secateurs is essential, we list the best secateurs to help you with this task.
Organic matter is material which has come from living things – anything from manure to lawn clippings, seaweed, and sawdust. Inorganic matter, by contrast, did not (or at least not recently) include rocks, minerals or metals, so in the garden this will mean things like sand and clay.
Gardeners are forever trying to get more organic matter into the soil. It is magical stuff - it increases the amount of food available for plants, it both helps to retain water for plants to use and helps with drainage so the soil doesn't get waterlogged.
The Power of Plants
Fall leaves descend on Songbird Cottage porch
Every fall, as our trees and shrubs begin preparing for their winter sleep, we watch leaves morph from green to yellow (or orange on our Basketbush Sumac and Japanese Maple). Soon after, each leaf lets go of its supporting branch and drifts down to earth. Piles of fallen leaves collect along our pathways, porches, and patios. But we don’t see this annual event as more work to do in the yard — because we never move the leaves any farther away than off the porches and decks with a broom. We know how valuable these leaves are to the health of our yard, and we are excited to watch the cycle of rebirth they are entering.
Fall color on California native shrub, Basketbush Sumac
Plants that go dormant in winter are closing down the sugar factories before frost would freeze the water inside each leaf, which would cause cells to burst and lose all the hard-won nutrients inside — not to mention killing the leaf tissues. After sending all the precious sugars and nutrients from leaves down into the roots for winter storage, the branches snip off each leaf with a special acid, closing the door on the scar with a cork-like covering. You might think the role of the leaf is over, but it still has a vital task to perform for the plant — and for the landscape around it.
Just like a warm blanket against the cold, fallen leaves help to insulate the ground around plant roots from chilling weather. As the leaves slowly decompose, they liberate their remaining nutrients into the soil, while providing food for many beneficial fungi, bacteria, insects, and a host of tiny organisms. This team of soil creatures transforms the decaying leaves’ nutrients into usable food waiting for roots when their dormant plants wake up in spring. These soil magicians ultimately convert the dead leaves into valuable mulch, which helps to retain precious moisture in the soil throughout the coming dry seasons.
Both evergreen and deciduous plants benefit from a cover of fallen leaves blanketing the ground.
Fall leaves are an asset to future generations of your yard plants.
This important saga in the life-cycle of fallen leaves not only benefits deciduous plants (those that lose their leaves in winter), it also benefits nearby evergreen plants. Even though evergreens have mechanisms to withstand freezing (including a plant version of anti-freeze), evergreens profit from the work that deciduous leaves have accomplished in their death: contributing fertilizing nutrients, soil-insulating properties, and soil-moisture-saving paybacks. Evergreen and deciduous plants alike also benefit from the weed-deterring job carried out by a blanket of fallen leaves.
So the next time you think about hauling off your piles of fall leaves, remember the role these heroic leaves still want to achieve in your yard. Put down your rake, and enjoy the rhythm of the leaves.
Life Cycle Of Deciduous Plants - Why Do Deciduous Plants Lose Their Leaves In Autumn - garden
All summer, with the long hours of sunlight and a good supply of liquid water, plants are busy making and storing food, and growing. But what about wintertime? The days are much shorter, and water is hard to get. Plants have found many different ways to get through the harsh days of winter.
Some plants, including many garden flowers, are called "annuals," which means they complete their life cycle in one growing season. They die when winter comes, but their seeds remain, ready to sprout again in the spring. "Perennials" live for more than two years. This category includes trees and shrubs, as well as herbaceous plants with soft, fleshy stems. When winter comes, the woody parts of trees and shrubs can survive the cold. The above ground parts of herbaceous plants (leaves, stalks) will die off, but underground parts (roots, bulbs) will remain alive. In the winter, plants rest and live off stored food until spring.
As plants grow, they shed older leaves and grow new ones. This is important because the leaves become damaged over time by insects, disease and weather. The shedding and replacement continues all the time. In addition, deciduous trees, like maples, oaks and elms, shed all their leaves in the fall in preparation for winter. "Evergreens" keep most of their leaves during the winter. They have special leaves, resistant to cold and moisture loss. Some, like pine and fir trees, have long thin needles. Others, like holly, have broad leaves with tough, waxy surfaces. On very cold, dry days, these leaves sometimes curl up to reduce their exposed surface. Evergreens may continue to photosynthesise during the winter as long as they get enough water, but the reactions occur more slowly at colder temperatures.
During summer days, leaves make more glucose than the plant needs for energy and growth. The excess is turned into starch and stored until needed. As the daylight gets shorter in the autumn, plants begin to shut down their food production.
Many changes occur in the leaves of deciduous trees before they finally fall from the branch. The leaf has actually been preparing for autumn since it started to grow in the spring. At the base of each leaf is a special layer of cells called the "abscission" or separation layer. All summer, small tubes which pass through this layer carry water into the leaf, and food back to the tree. In the fall, the cells of the abscission layer begin to swell and form a cork-like material, reducing and finally cutting off flow between leaf and tree. Glucose and waste products are trapped in the leaf. Without fresh water to renew it, chlorophyll begins to disappear.
Other colours, which have been there all along then become visible. The orange colours come from carotene ('kar-uh-teen) and the yellows from xanthophyll ('zan-thuh-fil). They are common pigments, also found in flowers, and foods like carrots, bananas and egg yolks. We do not know their exact role in leaves, but scientists think they may be involved somehow in photosynthesis.
The bright red and purple colours come from anthocyanin (an-thuh-'si-uh-nuhn) pigments. These are also common in plants for example, beets, red apples, and purple grapes, and flowers like violets and hyacinths. In the leaves, these pigments are formed in the autumn from trapped glucose. Brown colours come from tannin, a bitter waste product. Different combinations of these pigments give us a wide range of colours each fall.
As the bottom cells in the separation layer form a seal between leaf and tree, the cells in the top of the separation layer begin to disintegrate. They form a tear-line, and eventually the leaf is blown away or simply falls from the tree.