Trees are a Good Investment

Leif’s article in the Northfield News for July 22nd, discusses the benefits and energy saving value of planting trees.

In an era of dramatically higher energy prices, most of us are looking for good ways to lower our monthly bills for running air conditioners in the summer and home heating in the winter. Well placed, high quality trees can be very effective in reducing heating and cooling costs as well as adding beauty and value to the landscape.

Shade trees positioned to the east, south and west of a building will provided cooling shade throughout the day, preventing strong sunlight from entering windows and heating the interior of the structure. Roofs, siding, brick, stone and asphalt also stay much cooler, reducing the load on the air conditioner. An added benefit is greatly extended life of exterior building surfaces when protected from the intense ultraviolet rays of the sun. Paint, stain, wood and synthetic siding all last much longer when protected from sunlight, and it is always better to find local siding installation companies to do these jobs, you could save up tons of money.

People are sometimes afraid that trees close to their building will make the property “too dark”. This is not the case if the shade trees are gradually pruned over a period of years, so that eventually the first branches are 10-20 feet above the ground. A tree with a high canopy looks very beautiful and lets in enough light from the sides to keep grass, perennials and shrubs growing quite happily.

Shade trees with high canopies allow low angle winter sunlight to enter windows during a time when heating of the interior of the structure will save money. As soon as the leaves fall during October, sunlight streams into rooms, and provides nice added warmth. During summer the same trees keep you cool and comfortable.

Evergreen trees such as spruce, pine and arborvitae can do a good job of reducing winter heating costs when positioned to block winds from the northwest, north and northeast. These tough and lovely conifers add year around beauty and greatly reduce the chilling effects of winter winds, saving dollars on your heat bill, as well as adding privacy to your property.

A knowledgeable nursery professional can assist you with selecting the right varieties for your soils, slopes, drainage and style of architecture. Excellent shade trees include Maple, Oak, disease resistant Elms, Hackberry, Honeylocust, Birch and Kentucky Coffeetree. Good evergreens for Minnesota include Norway Spruce, Black Hills Spruce, White Pine, Red Pine, Austrian Pine, American Arborvitae and Techny Arborvitae.

If the cost of trees could be a problem for your budget, I strongly encourage you to simply plant smaller, lower cost trees. If you get them started now, its amazing how in a few years time, a tall and stately tree will beautify your yard and save you significant dollars on energy.

Keep in mind that good quality trees that are properly positioned will add greatly to the value of a property when the day comes that you decide to sell and move to a different house. You will receive many times more than your original investment since time and the growth of the tree work to build value for you.

Plant Spotlight: Hybrid disease resistant Elms. Many people are still wary of planting Elm trees due to the disaster of Dutch Elm Disease. The good news is that many excellent complex Elm hybrids are now available that show very good resistance to Dutch Elm Disease. An excellent feature of these new wonder Elms is that they can be grown successfully almost any place, in almost any soil. This desirable versatility is the very reason that American Elms were so widely planted. Good disease resistant varieties to look for are Triumph, Accolade, Discovery, Danada Charm, Vanguard and New Horizon. Check with a trusted nursery professional for more details.