Think energy savings in addition to aesthetics
TREES NOT ONLY ENRICH OUR LIVES with their beauty, but they can bring value to our homes—and our budgets. Those leafy deciduous trees and majestic evergreens reduce noise, provide shade in the summer and wind blocking in the winter. This improves the energy efficiency of our homes. According to the Arbor Day Foundation, well-placed trees can reduce consumer energy use by 20%.
The expansive canopy of many varieties of trees gives them the common name of shade tree. This can be any tree with a strong main trunk and wide, strong canopy. When the tree has been placed and planted correctly, canopies like this can shade surfaces in summer, such as windows, building roofs, solid-surface patios and driveways, lowering the surface and air temperatures.
The dense foliage of many evergreen trees and shrubs, when planted upwind from our homes, can also provide us with energy savings by blocking cold winter winds. Tall evergreen trees can be planted in one or two rows, where the foliage will meet without overcrowding as they mature. You can plant a tall evergreen with a shrub-like evergreen for a similar effect. Wind protection extends downwind 10 to 20 times the height of the windbreak.
Closer to the home, planting smaller evergreens 2 to 3 feet away from foundation walls can help insulate your home from the cold and from the heat of summer.
Location, location, location: When selecting a tree or evergreen, consider the location of your home, the mature size of the plants and any nearby overhead or underground utilities. Plant selection is one of the areas where I see the most mistakes that could have been prevented.
SHELLY NOLD is a horticulturist and owner of The Plant Kingdom. Send stories and ideas to her at The Plant Kingdom, 4101 Westport Road, Louisville, KY 40207