If you’ve ever lounged under the shade of a great big oak tree or marveled at a Magnolia in full bloom you’ve experienced the beauty of a tree. But trees also have benefits above and beyond their aesthetics. Trees provide oxygen, clean the air, recycle water, and prevent soil erosion as well as provide shade for homes and cities. According to the American Planning Association, if you put a monetary value on a tree, in a 50-year span, one tree generates $31,250 worth of oxygen, provides $62,000 worth of air pollution control, recycles $37,500 worth of water, and controls $31,250 worth of soil erosion.
In your own yard, three well-placed shade trees can reduce the annual heating and cooling costs of an Illinois house by 6.5%, according to the U.S. Forest Service. Large deciduous shade trees are best planted on the south side of the building. This way they offer optimal shade from the hot midday sun in summer and allow winter light to warm the structure. The Growing Place recommends oaks, elms, tulip poplar and maples among other types of trees for this purpose. To block the lower afternoon sun, add small deciduous trees to the west of the home. Some species to consider for this area would be serviceberries, magnolias, crabapples, and redbud. In fact, small trees or shrubs sited to shade your air conditioner will allow it to operate more efficiently. Plants should be at least three feet away from the unit to allow for proper airflow. Plus, trees and shrubs can hide the unit, creating a more pleasing landscape. Evergreen trees can offer an effective windbreak from our blustery winter winds when planted on the north and northwest corners of the property. Spruce, arborvitae, and pine can be particularly effective in this spot.
Posted on 4/23/2014 at 8:00:00 PM