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Tree Trimming & Removal Services

When Do Tree Leaves Come Back in Spring?

Your red spruce and honey locust are as eager for spring as you are. While you can protect yourself from winter’s chill by hibernating indoors, a tree’s only defense is to drop its leaves and go dormant. A properly pruned tree will wake up and show its colors at the first sign of spring.

Photo of tree with leaves

Wake Up Time

Some trees will wake up sooner than others. Red maples (Virginia’s most common tree), start to bloom in early March. But a silver maple is rather impatient, getting its start in February.

Red Maples

Photo of Red Maple Tree

Don’t let the name of this tree fool you. This tree wakes up with an abundance of thick, green leaves. This winter has been unseasonably warm in Virginia, with much less snowfall than we usually see. This can confuse your red maples and bring them out of dormancy much earlier than normal. This becomes a problem when a warm spell is followed by a sudden frost. The leaves and stems could suffer frost damage and not bloom again until next year. Mulching your trees and applying a chemical solution can prevent them from blooming too early.

Photo of Tulip Poplar Tree

Your tulip poplar trees won’t bloom until April, but their leaves will begin to pop up in late March. Proper pruning in late winter is a must to prevent this tree from overcrowding your other maples and red spruces. You’ll also want to fertilize at the first sign of spring if you want your tree to produce the yellow and orange fragrant flowers.


Photo of Sweetgums Tree

The star-shaped, glossy green leaves will start to come back as early as March, with small green flowers arriving in April and May. These trees are also susceptible to damage from a late frost.

Apple Trees

Photo of Apple Trees

Your apple tree will get its first growth bud and cluster of leaves in mid-April. You won’t start to see the pink flowering buds till a month later. There’s a good chance your apple trees will be late bloomers this year. Unlike the other deciduous trees, the apple tree isn’t fooled into thinking spring has arrived early. But it does need enough time in the cold to be fruitful.

The Tree of Knowledge

While there isn’t an exact set date for all trees to bud, we know trees native to warmer climates in the south don’t stay dormant for long and bloom as early as March. If your trees are late in producing leaves this spring, there’s no need to worry. Most trees know when it’s time to start producing.

Trees begin to come out of their dormant state based on the Chilling Hours. That’s the amount of time throughout the winter a tree is exposed to temperatures between 32°F and 45°F. Other factors such as warmer weather, water, and soil are also factors.

Trees also react to a change in light. Longer days of exposure to the sun will spur new growth and cause trees to wake up.

Time to Prepare

Mulching, fertilizing, and pruning are essential before your trees can develop their full potential. Now’s the time to get rid of the dead or dying limbs. It’s also the time to clean up all the leaves and yard debris leftover from the fall and winter months. If left on your lawn, those leaves will block sunlight from reaching your grass, and that can lead to lawn diseases. A healthy blooming tree should be surrounded by a lush, healthy lawn.

When your tree awakens for the spring and summer months, performing tree maintenance like tree trimming and tree shaping is crucial to maintaining a healthy tree. Steadfast Tree Care provides reliable tree shaping and tree trimming services to homes and businesses in Fredericksburg. Get in touch with us today for a free quote.

Benefits of Proper Tree Care

Tree Trimming

Trees are highly valued in Fredericksburg, and there are many benefits to having them in abundance. A grouping of trees provides a tree canopy for neighborhoods and creates an ecosystem that can regulate temperatures, store water, and regulate humidity. We also know that neighborhoods with an ample supply of trees are a lot cooler in the steamy summer months, and have higher property values.

Trees also make us feel younger and healthier, according to a study published in Scientific Reports. When there are ten or more trees on a city block, residents feel healthier, and there is a decreased risk of heart disease and diabetes.

If you’re stuck indoors on a drab, blustering cold, winter day, look at a photo of a group of trees and imagine yourself in a green, leafy forest of warm air. Your stress rate will plummet as you count down the days until the tree leaves come back in the spring.

Jim Seth climbed his first tree at the age of 3, and has been in love with saplings and conifers ever since. As a certified arborist, he spends a lot of time at the top these days, pruning and caring for trees, but his parents say it’s a lot easier to get him down these days.