Secrets to Energy Saving Landscaping

Woman and treeThe trees are coming into leaf   

Like something almost being said  

               – Philip Larkin

Submitted by Louisa May

Three seasons out of four, planting trees is a good idea. Trees enhance the landscape by:

  • offering splashes of color and welcome canopy
  • screening unsightly areas,
  • and muffling sounds.

And if these are not reasons enough, trees can help lower your energy bills and increase the value of your property.

Choosing the right trees for your property and deciding on the placement of them are important first steps that can save you many a maintenance headache. Here are a few questions to consider before you make your purchase:

What’s your main purpose for planting trees? It’s best to choose trees native to your area since these species will be more tolerant of weather and soil conditions, but this doesn’t limit your selection as much as you might think.

If you are trying to screen ugly areas, you might consider evergreens. Evergreens also make effective wind barriers and you don’t have to rake up leaves in the fall.

Do you want to cool the building? Remember, these trees will grow. You may want expert advice on where to plant.

How big will it get? What will it look like in twenty years?

  • Whether you choose an evergreen or a deciduous tree that sheds its foliage after the growing season, be sure to ask how big this tree will get and how fast it will grow. This will help you visualize the eventual effect of your planting.
  • Many ornamental trees are smaller and have a shorter life span, but they should still be considered. They might be just the right size for your landscape area or be more tolerant of sun or shade.

And sometimes they are just too beautiful to pass by.

Should I buy container-grown, b&b, or bare root plants?

  • Container grown plants are the easiest to plant and they establish themselves the most readily.
  • Balled and burlapped plants (b&b) are the next best choice. These are dug up from the nursery, wrapped in burlap, and kept there awhile to give the roots some time to regenerate.
  • Bare root plants are usually small and are often sold from mail order catalogs. They have no soil and fragile roots, and so they must be planted when dormant to avoid drying out. It’s important to keep these roots moist.

To protect your investment, it’s a good idea to mix things up. If an insect attacks one variety, or you find out that a particular tree does not thrive in your climate or micro-climate, all is not lost. And don’t forget to water, come winter, summer, fall, and spring.

It’s almost spring, “the trees are coming into leaf, Like something almost being said,” and for me that’s the best reason to plant after all.

Check out our Green Pages for information on money saving tips that help the environment.

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