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Old 12-23-2002, 10:57 AM
Charter Member
Join Date: Mar 1999
Location: Great South Bay
Posts: 703
Do maple/oak leaves ever fall in Florida?

What happens to maple or oak tree leaves in Florida? Do the leaves ever fall, or do they just stay on the trees forever because it's so warm?
Old 12-23-2002, 12:31 PM
Charter Member
Join Date: May 2000
Posts: 27,161
They fall in the Fall just like everywhere else. The leaf colors are not as bright in the fall as in say, New England but they do change and drop. Spring and refoiliation comes earlier in the Spring (or more likely late winter) than it would in the North. Those are the only real differences.
Old 12-23-2002, 12:40 PM
Join Date: Dec 2000
Location: By The Sea
Posts: 315
Shagnasty is right. And contrary to popular opinion, we do have winter here, just a rather short one. I have lived in central Florida all my life, and can recall quite a few 20 degree winter days. Its just pretty sporadic ( 40 one day, 70 the next),. Its amusing to me that the people that complain the most about the cold here are the transplants from the North. I guess they think it never goes below 80......
Old 12-23-2002, 12:59 PM
Join Date: Apr 2002
Posts: 105
This page on leaf abscission suggests that environmental conditions are not the only factors.

The physiological processes responsible for leaf abscission are sensitive to a variety of internal and external or environmental conditions. Internally, leaf senescence and abscission are under strong hormonal control with the primary players being auxins, which prevent abscission, and ethylene, which triggers it. Healthy, functioning leaves have ample supplies of auxin that suppress abscission. As a leaf ages, however, auxin flow across its abscission zone diminishes and ethylene, which now increases in amount, can initiate abscission
Old 12-23-2002, 03:47 PM
Join Date: Jun 2000
Location: Florida
Posts: 6,060
Please note that, even within the State of Florida, climactic conditions can vary greatly. The USDA designates plant hardiness zones throughout the country. For example, most of Ohio is in Zone 5, which says certain temperatures occur within certain ranges of the year (-10 to -15 in coldest part of winter). Meaning: first frost date will be about 2 months earlier than in North Florida, which is in Zone 8. Some plants are hardy to zone 1, (Although I don't know which plants, having never gardened in Zone 1) which means they will survive the lowest average temperatures for that zone. Plants that are hardy in Zone 5 may wither and fry in humid Zone 8 summers.

Florida has three Zones: 8-10. That means some plants can thrive in Zone 9 and 10 (palms, bromeliads, and citrus, for example), but may not live through a hard freeze in Zone 8. (There are citrus varieties cultivated specifically for Zone 8, as the banana trees in my friend's yard will attest. Also, I grow palms and bromeliads, but I bring them inside for a couple months until temps are back up to the plant's preference.)

Leaves tend to turn color when the temp reaches a certain low overnight and stays there. For North Florida, this is usually somewhere around the first frost date, which can be as early as Dec. 8th or so. Generally, in Tallahassee, Fall lasts about a weekend. One day everything is green and lush. Then one night the temp drops to about 30-35 or so. Next day, all the leaves are falling. Three days later, all the deciduous trees are nekkid, leaving only evergreens.

FTR, there are a couple varieties of oaks in North Florida that drop their leaves year round. Unfortunately, one of them is in my yard, which is why you may find me sucking up leaves for mulch about four times a year. Disadvantage to mild winters: you have to rake all the damn time!

Old 12-23-2002, 05:44 PM
Join Date: Jun 2001
Posts: 575
I've lived in the big Bend (Tallahassee to Pensacola). Winters are very nice and yes you do have the leaves falling and beautiful colors although not as beautiful as a little further north.
Old 12-23-2002, 07:43 PM
Join Date: Sep 2001
Posts: 394
Here in North have several Oaks dropping their leaves. The Laurel Oak, Water Oak, Southern Red Oak and various others. The hardy Live Oak however is an "evergreen" in that it keeps its leaves all year round. As for Maples...they all drop. The Red Maple will keep its leaves around much longer than the Florida Sugar Maple though.

BTW, here in zone 8a we too have palms. The state tree, the Cabbage Palm is suprisingly hardy. I just planted three of them in my yard about a month ago and it's very, very cool (I won't say cold because being from the midwest, I know what cold is!) now in the evening and it doesn't harm them a bit. Palms are generally better off planting in the summer due to the warm soil conditions but it's no big deal to plant in the winter too. I also have a European Fan Palm which can take VERY cold conditions but I'm getting off topic!
Old 12-23-2002, 10:23 PM
Join Date: Aug 2000
Location: Charleston, SC
Posts: 5,820
Just to be redundant, deciduous trees lose their leaves in autumn, no matter where they are located. I live in Charleston, SC, a throw's stone away from Fla. The maples here turn brilliant red, as they do anywhere else, as we get cold temps here too. The oaks also have nice color. It's just a little later. Watch the Weather Channel, and it will show you where in the nation the best colors are in the autumn. If you watch it, you will see that Fla. and this area gets the best colors much later, of course, than the northern tier of states, but we do get them.

We have, down here, some trees not found in the North that are not deciduous altho broadleafed: the live oak, being predominant (from whence the name). We're just passing peak colors here, about two months after the northern tier of states.
There are 10 kinds of people in this world: those who understand binary numbers and those who don't.
Old 12-25-2002, 01:56 PM
Join Date: Aug 2000
Location: Charleston, SC
Posts: 5,820
Since noone has corrected me, I'll have to do it. Live oaks do lose their leaves, but not all at once. The leaves, however, do not change color.

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