Some of the oak trees in my woods retain their dead leaves until spring, when the new leaves finally push them off. Marcescense is the technical term for that retention of dead plant organs which would normally be shed.
I wonder why they do that - there must be some value. Several theories have been proposed. Perhaps it protects the new buds from the harshness of winter. They might act like a snow fence, causing snow to collect beneath the tree providing extra moisture in dry areas. Maybe they create a layer of mulch in the spring when they finally fall. Those dead leaves may make the tender shoots and branches less palatable to the animals who would nibble on them through the long winter. I haven’t discovered any definitive answer for why this happens.
It did make me wonder…am I clinging to anything that isn’t serving its purpose anymore?
What would it take for me to let those things go?
Will something new grow in its place?
If you enjoy my photos and ponderings, you might appreciate my book, Following the Bread Crumbs. A brief selection and more information are on my website at http://www.shirleyweyrauch.com/book.html
Shirley K. Weyrauch
I love reading, writing, and photography! Spending time with my family and friends around the kitchen table is about the best occasion I know. I'm just beginning to stretch my creative wings, so here's to gentle breezes and clear skies.