Trees: Neighborhoods are typically much livelier with trees all around, but trees can provide other benefits apart from a vibrant look.
Here we look at some of the reasons you should plant a tree in your yard.
Trees are known for providing oxygen, and regardless of where you live, certain trees can help with the heating or air conditioning.
They are a huge asset in minimizing the electricity bill with the following functions:
- Effective wind blocks
- Reduce sunlight hitting home and cooling equipment
- Strategically letting light in during fall and winter.
Peter Moe, the director at the University of Minnesota Landscape Arboretum, said:
“Planting trees can save homeowners money on utilities when they’re planted correctly.”
“Deciduous trees are a great fit for homeowners because they shade homes during the summer, but allow sunlight to reach the home after the leaves drop in the fall.”
“Evergreen trees planted on the northwest side of a home can block cold winter winds.”
This year, a paper published in the Energy and Building journal also explores the tree-based energy efficiency concept.
The author explained that the proper arrangement of two trees could conserve up to 40% of heating energy and provide 18% cooling energy conservation in heat waves.
The presence of trees doesn’t just add to the beauty of nature; it also attracts wildlife.
Sarah Barnard, an interior designer based in California and certified naturalist, said:
“Increased wildlife can offer the joys of birdwatching, which can be a pleasurable daily experience,” said Barnard.
“Some trees can attract butterflies, like oak trees, which draw California sister, dusky wing, and hairstreak butterflies, among others.”
Planting a tree can help animals find safer places to raise their young and forage for food.
“Homeowners who want to support wildlife should try to plant a diverse mix of trees because many birds, animals, and insects have specific and preferred host plants,” said Moe.
“If you’re just getting started, oaks are good host plants as they provide food, shelter, and nesting spaces for more species of birds, animals, and insects than any other group of trees.”
Impact on flood damage
One of the most significant benefits of planting trees at home is how they can help prevent lawns from washing out after heavy rains.
Additionally, trees can absorb water quickly.
Alan Duncan, the founder of Solar Panels Network USA, regularly incorporates trees into energy efficiency plans for homeowners.
“Trees can help regulate water flow by allowing rainwater to be absorbed into the ground instead of flowing away with runoff,” said Duncan.
“This helps to recharge our groundwater supplies, reduce flooding and soil erosion, and can even improve water quality.”
Planting a tree
While it may seem easy just to dig a hole and drop a stick inside, planting a tree is much more complex.
When it comes to planting, you must consider the tree selection and the planting site.
Scott Berry, the president of Evergreen Hardscaping & Tree Care in Delaware, said:
“The best placement for a tree depends on the specimen and its growth rate and growing habits.”
“You wouldn’t want to plant a white oak five feet from your foundation wall,” he added.
“Plant larger trees further from the structure – at least 20 to 30 feet if possible – and smaller ornamental trees much closer to the home.”
Another thing to consider is where the roots and shoots will grow.
For example, having utilities underground or overhead in a particular spot of the yard could risk damaging pipes and lines as the tree grows.
“When choosing a planting location, homeowners have to consider the mature size of the tree as well as below-ground and overhead utilities,” said Moe.
“You also want your trees to fit into your home landscape design and you’ll have to consider where shade is desired at specific times of the day.”
“For example, would you like a shady patio in the late afternoon or a sunny one?”
When a tree is planted, it should have room to grow.
While there is an old solution to poor placement called topping – wherein the top of the tree is cut down by a large portion – experts don’t recommend it.
“When maintaining trees after planting, one thing to keep in mind is to avoid topping them,” offered Sarah Barnard.
“It may irrevocably damage or harm trees, as the reduced leaf surface area makes it harder for the tree to produce food, creates more areas of direct sun exposure, and offers openings for diseases and infestations.”
There are many things to consider when choosing a tree, like:
- How much space is there for growth
- What problems to solve
- Wildlife housing
- Improving indoor climate efficiency
- Where it can put down roots without causing a power outage
The list of potential trees can be staggering, but a few stand out in the landscapes.
“Oak trees tend to be great for this, but they can grow quite large,” said Berry.
“Tulip poplars are also good selections, as well as certain species of maples.”
“There are a lot of options, but keep in mind they will all have their own special challenges when it comes to how and when they shed leaves and seeds.”