Introduction: Plant a Tree and Save Energy

Several years ago we had to remove three old shade trees from our yard because a branch fell on the roof of our neighbors garage.  Thankfully it did not hurt anyone.  We reluctantly cut down our beautiful trees .  After the trees were gone we noticed that the house was a lot hotter during the summer months.  We have noticed a significant difference in our electric bill.  My husband has planted seedlings all around the yard, so during the summer months the trees will eventually shade the house and shop.  

I began noticing in our area; not many people have enough trees planted to shade their homes. I hope this instructable will inspire you to plant a few seedlings, even if you might not receive the benefits; plant them for the next guy!     

Step 1: Trees

Native trees usually grow in abundance and seedlings can be planted in the spring or fall.  We have a lot of Chinese elms.  We like the American elms because the branches are much stronger and they are very pretty.  My husband has planted the Chinese elm because they are growing in the yard naturally.  Native seedlings are  easy to start and grow into healthy trees without a lot of care.  

We did a search and found which trees grow fast to produce shade for our area.  Some native trees can be invasive so it is best to do the research.  

My husband loves the sycamore tree.  He discovered that the London planes do well here.  He gathered some pods from some healthy trees and planted them last year in our holding spot.

We have had success planting from seeds.  Our online research paid off.    

 

Step 2: Supplies

Seedlings
Water
Shovel or post hole diggers

Step 3: Choosing the Location for Shade

You want to plant trees close enough to the house that the shade will cover the roof like an umbrella.  Look at the roof in this picture.  Plant trees so you have morning, noon and afternoon shade.  It is OK to plant trees close to the house.  A lot of people get concerned about the roots damaging sidewalks and foundations over time but the secret is watering less often and watering very deep.  This causes the roots to grow down into the ground deeper.

My husband  turns the water on slightly and places the hose under the tree and as he is working in the yard he will move the hose to another location after an hour or so.  He waters our trees once a week during the summer with great success. We plant a couple of seedlings close together in case one of the dogs damages one of them; at least the remaining  tree might survive and we don't loose the growth.

Step 4: Digging the Hole

Our soil has been mulched so it is easy to dig.  If your ground is very hard, try soaking it with the water turned on a trickle overnight and that will loosen it enough to make it easier to dig.   

Step 5: Digging the Seedling

It is important to get all the roots of the tree to ensure it will survive.  You can estimate that the roots are a little deeper than what is growing above the ground.  Pecan trees have a very long root.  

Step 6: Filling the Hole With Water

Fill the hole with water and add a little dirt to the hole.

Step 7: Planting the Seedling

Plant the seedling the same depth that it had been growing. Fill in with dirt.   

Step 8: Pack

Pack the dirt around it but not too hard.

Step 9: Watering

Keep the soil damp until the roots are well established.  But do not soak.

Step 10: Sunshiine's Final Thoughts

My husband loves trees because he spends a lot of time outdoors and appreciates the shade.  I have not counted how many trees he has planted here but there are a lot. He has planted trees around the new shop for whoever is going to buy the house.  We are moving and he has already started planting trees to take with us so he will have shade.  He plants them in his holding area. If you have old trees that will need to be cut down in the near future consider planting seedlings now,  close to where the trees are and you won't have to wait for shade like we did.I hope this instructable inspires you to plant some trees and save energy.  Trees are beautiful even on a moonlit night. 


In closing I would like to thank  our instructables company, sponsors,  authors, readers, and members, for making this community a great success!  Many hours of time and hard work has been put into making this place the best DIY on the Internet. Have a splendorous day!   
Sunshiine

Comments

author
blkhawk (author)2012-07-13

I had to remove two Blue Spruces from my front lawn because of safety reasons, both trees were damaged by storms and one was too close to electrical lines. I replaced them with a Red Maple. It has been five years and the Red Maple is growing beautifully. I have lots of shade in my back yard and against the advice of some of my "friends" I haven't cut down any of my back yard trees. I simply enjoy hanging my hammock and rest under the shade. Great Instructable!

author
sunshiine (author)blkhawk2012-07-13

You are probably glad you saved the trees this year and enjoying the hammock. Thanks for the comment! Have a great day.
Sunshiine

author
ToniRose (author)2012-07-09

It's also a good idea not to plant directly south of your house, at least if you have enough overhang (depth of eaves) to shade the walls in the summer. Winter sun will warm the south side and in through windows, saving energy year 'round.

author
sunshiine (author)ToniRose2012-07-10

Nice comment! Thanks so much for sharing!
Sunshiine

author
artfulann (author)2012-07-06

Nice!
I plant trees too. Some too close to the house though and I'm going to have to do something soon while they're still small enough to do something, which I hate.

author
sunshiine (author)artfulann2012-07-06

Get them now and you won't regret it! Easy digging. Thanks for commenting and have a super day!
Sunshiine

author
Jayefuu (author)2012-07-06

Interesting writeup! I read a very similar article on Treehugger.com this week, though theirs didn't have anywhere near as many pretty pictures.

author
sunshiine (author)Jayefuu2012-07-06

Thanks for the compliment! Have a super cool day!
Sunshiine

author
russ_hensel (author)2012-07-06

Shading the house is a good idea, but too close can create problems including:

* leaves in the gutters
* branches rubbing on the roof

Both can be managed, but you should be aware.

author
sunshiine (author)russ_hensel2012-07-06

Thanks for sharing this comment! I appreciate your advice. Hope you have a great day!
Sunshiine

author
canucksgirl (author)2012-07-06

Very good Instructable! It's important for people to look at this if they have very few trees. Studies have shown that temperatures of whole cities are affected by a lack of trees; not only for the shade that they provide, but in their ability to clean the air.

Well Done!

author
sunshiine (author)canucksgirl2012-07-06

Thanks for the input! Hope your day is shining!
Sunshiine

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Bio: I am married with two children. Spring, summer, and fall are my very favorite times of the year. I love the sunshine thus the reason ... More »
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