Tree Buds in the Spring

When do you think that buds appear on trees?
In the spring?
Or maybe at the end of winter?

Well, trees actually form their buds during the summer, usually in August! Since trees are dormant during the winter, they don't have the energy to produce structures that are that small and complex! Buds aren't very apparent in the fall and throughout the entire winter. In the spring, however, they swell and are ready to open.

What Do Buds Look Like?

Have you ever really examined a bud before? You have to start with its general appearance. Each species of tree has its own distinctive bud. Here are some of the questions you should ask yourself when looking at buds. Where do they grow on the branch? Do they appear singly, in pairs, or as clusters? Are they big or small? Are they rounded or elongated? What color are they?
Sugar maple buds are pointed and reddish-brown in color. Red oak buds grow in clusters at the end of branches.

The bitternut hickory has yellow buds.

Hobblebush buds don't have scales. Beech buds are cigar-shaped.

Most buds are covered with scales, which are really small, modified leaves. Their role is to protect the bud against winter cold and drying.

But what does a bud look like on the inside?

A bud can be cut open with a very sharp knife to reveal what lies inside.


As you can see, it contains tiny leaves. These are the leaves that will grow next year. Sometimes you can also see tiny flowers inside the bud or tiny, silky hairs. Maybe they're little fur coats for the buds!