Place Trees Wisely for High Performance
Chris Baliko of Growing Solutions reminds us that, aside from the most important functions trees perform—using carbon dioxide in the photosynthesis process and releasing oxygen back into the atmosphere—trees offer even more when placed in specific locations on a property. Shade trees planted on the south and southwest side of a house will provide welcome shade during the hot summer months, keeping a house significantly cooler. Evergreen trees planted along the north and northwest sides of a house will create a natural windbreak that helps reduce heating costs. Evergreens can also be used to provide privacy. Trees also enhance our property values, adding to more than just the bottom line. They create spring flower color, wonderful fall foliage and, during the long, dark winter months, trees with exfoliating bark, such as the native river birch, add interest to our gardens. Witch hazel even flowers in February! Such native species as tupelo, river birch, red bud, white pine, and service berry adapt better to our soil and climate conditions, requiring less watering and fertilizing maintenance. Overall, the best strategy is to plant the right plant in the right spot for optimal growth and minimal maintenance.