So you want to plant a tree…Where is the best place on your property? A good rule of thumb for deciduous trees–trees that lose their leaves in the winter–is to plant them on the south side of your house (the east and west sides are good, too). In the summer, when the sun and heat are the most intense, a south-side tree shades the home, reducing the need for cooling energy; in the winter when the leaves are gone, the tree allows for passive solar heat gain upon the house. Planting of trees–anywhere in the city–helps curb the Urban Heat Island Effect.
According to TreeNM.com: well placed, mature trees can save consumers up to 30% of annual cooling costs and save 10-25% of energy used for winter heating. At top: an Afghan Pine tree, planted 12 years ago in my front yard. Below, the same tree this week. It’s a good southwestern tree, as it is very hardy and low-water. As the pine is perennially green, it was planted on the north-side of the house. It creates ecosystems for birds and critters, and provides great shade for passersby on the sidewalk, and nicely shades my neighbors’ front yard in the summer. It doesn’t have winter flowers, but does produce very large pine cones.