It’s hard to argue with the benefits of planting trees on your property. They provide shade, improve the air you breathe, accommodate wildlife, and potentially add thousands of dollars to the value of your home. Well-placed trees can also reduce your annual energy costs by up to $250.
Trees offer year-round energy saving potential. In summer, the shade provided by trees can greatly increase the efficiency of your cooling system, allowing you to use your air conditioner less. And in winter, trees can serve as a windbreak, which helps to hold down heating costs. The key to getting the greatest reward from your trees lies in choosing the right varieties, and planting them in the right location.
For optimum summer savings, choose deciduous trees—which include oaks, maples and countless others—on the south and southwest side of your house. This location will provide the most summertime shade, and when the leaves drop in autumn, the bare branches will allow the sun to shine through and help keep your home warm. Evergreen trees, like pines and spruces, should be planted on the north and northwest side of your home, providing an effective screen against chilly winter winds.
It’s also important to consider the fully grown size of a tree at the time you plant it. Plant trees far enough apart to allow them room to grow, and far enough away from your house so that the roots won’t interfere with your foundation or sewer lines. Healthy adult trees can each add more than $500 to the value of your house and property, but poorly placed trees can actually detract from your home’s value if they are deemed hazardous.
The value of a tree also depends in part its species and location. Be sure to choose varieties that are well adapted to your climate, and provide all the essential care as they grow.