Why Do Tree Leaves Turn Over Before A Storm: Secret Revealed 

Why Do Tree Leaves Turn Over Before A Storm

If you go through the ancient weather folklore, you will come across stories on flipped leaves before winter and rainfall. And this might make you wonder why do tree leaves turn over before a storm.

Tree leaves flip due to the change in humidity, moisture, and wind direction in the environment. That does not mean all trees react in the same way. To know how different leaves react before the rain, sit back and start reading! 

Why Do Plant Leaves Turn Upside Down Before A Storm?

Leaves of several Plants turn upside down before a storm due to changes in moisture level, humidity level, and wind speed.

Especially before it rains or snow storms. And it is a common natural phenomenon that has scientific explanations as described:

1. Low Moisture

Due to extreme heat or cold, many plant leaves lose their water level or moisture. As a result, they tend to curl or turn over to save their remaining water. It is their defense mechanism against harsh weather. 

Why Do Tree Leaves Turn Over Before A Storm

Temperature rise and low moisture in plants are the common indicators of following rainfall. Because heat causes water evaporation that leads to rain or storm.

So, if plant leaves flip in extreme heat, it is highly likely that there will be a downpour soon. Sometimes leaf curls even if moisture is high in them, here is why:

2. Humidity Levels

Before it rains, increased humidity levels in the air precede the weather. Such humidity softens the leaves, and they tend to hang off the branches in a neither too stiff nor flexible manner.

Why Do Tree Leaves Turn Over Before A Storm

It happens as the leaves absorb the high moisture present in the weather. So, the limpy leaves easily flip and expose their undersides in the gentle breeze. 

3. Wind

Trees grown in a specific area stay aligned with the direction of the existing wind there. But they do not get accustomed to the wind that flows in the other direction, especially during storms or rainfall. 

Why Do Tree Leaves Turn Over Before A Storm

And the wind that precedes the storm causes the leaves to expose their underbellies. Because the force in the wind is different and higher from the prevailing wind. 

Do Plants Know When It Is Going to Rain?

Based on scientific information, trees cannot predict rain or storm. They only react or respond to the weather change as it makes a difference in their moisture and wind direction.

Our ancestors used to believe that trees can predict rain and weather change. They did not have the scientific knowledge to explain the flipping leaves. So, when they observed changes in leaves patterns before storms, they believed that trees know when it is going to rain.

Having said that, the weather folklore of the ancient people or their observation of different leaf patterns has helped Farmers’ Almanac to research the phenomenon. 

Which Tree Leaves Turn Upside Down before Storm?

There are some common tree Leaves Turn Upside Down before Storm:

1.Deciduous trees
2.Morning Glory leaves
3.Pinecone leaves
4.Tomato Leaves Curl

1.Deciduous trees: Deciduous trees that shed leaves annually tend to flip their leaves before the rain. Because this plant leaves easily absorb moisture in increased humidity

2.Morning Glory leaves: Morning Glory leaves react quite differently before the rain. They curl closely or stiffly during or before rainfall.

Pinecone leaves: Wet periods of snow and rain keep the pinecone leaves tightly closed or clumped. They turn upside down and expose their lime undersides.

Tomato trees curl: Tomato trees curl their leaves before the winter storms or rainfall to keep a balance of their water level. And to prevent dehydration due to the extreme heat that precedes rain.

that Not all types of tree leaves flip over in rain or storm. Only some specific plant leaves react to environmental factors.

What to Do If the Flipped Leaves Drop?

It is not always fun when the tree leaves curl in rain or winter if they are house or yard plants. Sometimes, the softened foliage can drop off the branches, especially heavy wind and rain can cause them to flip and fall from the tree prematurely. In such cases, here is what you can do –

1. Chicken Bedding 

If you have chicken or hens in your yard or home, the flipped and dropped leaves can be a great source of coop bedding. Collect the fallen leaves and dry them in direct sunlight or under grow lights. 

Why Do Tree Leaves Turn Over Before A Storm

Once they become moderately crisp, you can spread them over the yard to make chicken bedding. These curled leaves are most effective in trapping the heat inside. So, during winter or rainfall, the chickens can stay warm in the bedding. 

2. Compost Pile

If you are into gardening, you are likely to grow flower plants. Most of these plants require enriched soil to thrive in any condition. For that, the compost pile is a great help. And to make your own compost piles, there is no alternative to fallen leaves.

Why Do Tree Leaves Turn Over Before A Storm

Once the curled leaves dry and fall, store them for a week or so in a dry place. Then, add the leaves to the pile, and it will start to decompose soon.

3. Create Mulch

Layers of mulch lock the air and moisture required for outdoor plants. And they also work as insulators to protect the trees against winter. 

Why Do Tree Leaves Turn Over Before A Storm

So, with the dried fallen leaves and straws, create mulch and spread them over exposed roots or vulnerable plants. Dried leaves mulching prevents the roots from dehydration and nutrient lack. 

4. Insulator 

If you have trees that are not cold or wet-period resistant, consider using a natural insulator with leaves. For that, add 2–3 inches of leaves around the tree bedding and roots. 

Then, wrap the trees in a burlap sack. The sack and the dried leaves will protect the plants from frost and excessive water in the rain. 


There are scientific explanations as to why do tree leaves turn over before a storm queries. So, do not incline toward the myth that trees can predict rain storms or winter. Rather, they can only respond to weather changes. 

They mainly flip as a defense mechanism to save their water and nutrients locked. However, sometimes, the mechanism falls flat and they tend to die. Before you assume the leaves have curled due to rain, inspect whether there is any pest infestation or not. 

It might Also be helpful for you: Why my fig tree is dropping leaves?

Frequently Asked Questions (F.A.Q’s):

1. Do Diseased Leaves Turn Over Before Storm?

Yes, disease leaves are most vulnerable to wind and high humidity in the wet season. So, they not only curl but also fall off the branches.

2. Can Tree Leaves Flip Over In All Seasons?

No, tree leaves do not turn upside down all season. They flip mainly in extreme heat or wet weather such as winter and monsoon. 

3. Is It Safe for the Foliage to Turn Over in Rain?

In most cases, it is safe. However, sometimes the softened leaves can die prematurely due to heavy wind. Because when they turn over, they become lumpy. 

Md Biajid

Meet Mia Biajid, a passionate nature lover. Particularly, he has a deep-rooted connection to the plant. Mia loves to spend time exploring forests and uncovering the secrets held within trees. He always inspires others to appreciate and protect our precious part of the ecosystem.

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