We are long past the growing season and are very much so in winter. However, have you noticed that some trees like to hang onto their leaves from the previous growing season. Certain trees will hold and not let go until the next growing season starts.
It is always weird to see a tree with leaves in the dead of winter, even if the leaves are all brown. Many varieties of trees will hold on, like the oak, witch hazel, musclewood, and American beech to name a few. A speculation as to why the trees hold on to their leaves is a lack of a hard frosts when the tree is in the process of getting ready for winter. With the lower number of hard frosts, it slows the process down for the tree, and the leaves end up getting “stuck” until spring time. Again this is just a speculation. Some trees have no problems dropping their leaves in the fall, and others will drop, but they drop in early December like the ornamental pear.
The leaves from the oaks and such do eventually fall off in the spring. The new leaf bud that takes the place of the old leaf pushes the old leaf out. However, at the end of the day, the trees know what is going on and they continue to survive and offer many benefits to us.