Add $ome Green to $ave $ome Green
How can you make your yard more inviting, improve your home’s curb appeal, and save a significant amount of energy year-round? Plant a tree. According to the US Department of Energy, planting three well placed trees can save the average homeowner between $100 and $250 in cooling and heating costs each year. But how do you decide what to plant, and where?
On the south side of your home, large deciduous trees work best. Deciduous trees, like maples, lose their leaves in the winter. In this way, the trees will shade your house in the summer, but will allow the sun to warm the house in the winter.
Shorter trees (crabapples) and bushes (lilac) work well on the southeast and southwest sides of the home. These trees don’t need to be as tall because they will only need to provide shade to the home in the early morning and evening when the sun is low. Your outdoor air condition unit would like some shade too, but be sure to keep all plants at least two feet away to allow it to breathe.
Large coniferous (evergreen) trees can be planted on the north and west sides of the home to act as a windbreak during the winter. Bushes and shrubs near the house can also help keep the cold winter wind from penetrating in, but be sure to keep all plants at least one foot away from the building to prevent moisture damage. These plants will also act as a natural snow fence.
Before choosing a particular type of tree or bush, be sure to check how large it can grow. To prevent disease, avoid planting too many of any one type of tree. Plant native species to reduce the amount of water they require. Avoid power lines and always CALL BEFORE YOU DIG. Not only is it the safe thing to do, it is also the law.
Planting and watching a tree grow can be a fun experience that can increase your property value, create habitat for wild animals, and last for generations.