Shade Trees Can Cut Your Cooling Bills!

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Mature trees not only add curb appeal and value to your home, but they keep your house cooler when strategically placed around your property.  Some great deciduous shade trees (those that lose their leaves in the winter) include:  Sugar Maple, Red Maple, Quaking Aspen, Weeping Willow, Northern Catalpa, Sourwood and Oak species.  These trees, among many others, provide year-round interest with brilliant fall foliage, beautiful spring flowers, interesting seeds, nice bark and overall form.

Keep these tree tidbits in mind: 

  • Plant trees on the south and west sides of your home to provide shade from the hottest summer sun.
  • Trees should be planted 10-20+ feet away from your home, depending on expected mature size (the larger the tree, the farther from the house it should be).
  • Your air conditioner unit will operate more cost-efficiently if it’s in the shade.
  • Trees provide better shade than man-made structures because “air passing through the branches is cooled by transpiration from the leaves.”
  • Autumn is typically the best time to plant trees since they begin a dormancy period.
  • Plant young trees (those that are 2-3′ high) because the smaller the caliper (diameter of the trunk), the less care the tree will need to get established.
  • Trees grow at various rates from slow (less than 12″ per year) to fast (25″+ per year!), depending on the species and other variables such as soil, drainage, light, etc.

The National Arbor Day Foundation is a great resource to purchase trees appropriate for your climate.  They even offer 10 free trees with a $10 membership fee!

Learn more from the University of Missouri Extension

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Tag(s): Energy, Greening the Home, Money Saving


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