Trees That Shed Leaves in Winter

No one can predict that exact time a tree will shed its leaves. It depends on how soon a freeze occurs. In the north, where winter starts early, the leaves fall earlier. In the south, they will fall later, and in the deep south, they may not fall off at all. Leaves are too delicate to survive a winter, like the branches and trunk of the tree do. The link from the tree to the leaves, where the stem attaches to the branches, closes to protect the rest of the tree from the cold, causing the leaves to fall off.


Maackia (Maackia amurensis) is a native of Eastern Asia that grows from 20 to 30 feet tall and the same in width. The tree is hardy in USDA zones 3 to 7 and likes full sun or partial shade with a soil that is average, moist and well drained. White flowers bloom in June, growing in thin clusters measuring 4 to 6 inches long and giving way to flat seed pods measuring 2 to 3 inches long. The dark green leaves are compound, made up of seven to 13 individual segments.

Amur Maple

Amur maple (Acer ginnala) is native to Asia and grows from 15 to 20 feet tall. It features medium to dark green leaves, growing from 1 1/2 to 3 inches long, that turn red or yellow in the fall. Small, yellow flowers bloom in early spring, grow in clusters and are followed by winged fruits up to 1 inch long that last through the winter. Plant Amur maple in full sun and moist to dry soil. The tree is hardy in USDA zones 3 to 8.


Yellowwood (Cladrastis kentukea) is native to the United States and grows from 30 to 50 feet tall and 40 to 55 feet wide. Plant yellowwood in full sun and a well-drained soil. The tree is hardy in USDA zones 4 to 8. The compound leaves consist of seven to 11 leaflets, start out as a yellow-green color, become a bright-green in the summer and mature to yellow in the fall. White, fragrant flowers bloom in May on mature trees, growing in drooping clusters from 10 to 15 inches long. Flat, brown seed pods up to 4 inches long follow the flowers.

American Smoke Tree

American smoke tree (Cotinus obovatus) does best in full sun and a soil that is moist and well-drained, but not necessarily fertile. The tree grows from 20 to 30 feet tall with a similar spread. Yellow-green flowers bloom in May and June in clusters from 6 to 10 inches long. The flowers leave behind long, billowing hairs that turn smoky-pink in the summer, giving the tree its name. Egg-shaped, blue-green leaves turn yellow, red, orange or purple in the fall. The tree is hardy in USDA zones 4 to 8.

Keywords: deciduous trees, tree leaves, trees in winter

About this Author

Regina Sass has been a writer for 10 years, penning articles for publications in the real estate and retail industries. Her online experience includes writing, advertising and editing for an educational website. Sass is a member of the Society of Professional Journalists.