If I told you according to the FBI, studies have shown that in urban areas where there are abundant shade trees the crime levels are lower. You would beleive me. This is because people have a more positive outlook where the envirement is friendlier and where you feel more peaceful. The colors of nature are more pleasing than that of asphalt and concrete. Just as if you could have a color tv or a black and white for the same price, which is more pleasing?
Urban shade trees also help prevent flooding. Trees hold back water with their surface area and slow runoff. High quality shade trees can reduce runoff and thus slow soil erosion.
One shade tree can remove nearly 1 ton of co2 from the air and return it as oxygen. A one acre tree forest can provide enough oxygen for over a dozen people. Shade trees can also purify the air of SO2 and NO, two major components of acid rain and ozone pollution.
Urban shade trees help block Fido's bark. Thus allowing you a better nights sleep. A stand of tree 90' by 45' tall can reduce noise levels by almost 50%. Would you now believe that half a sleeping pill will now do?
Shade Loving Plants
If you have ever tried to plant a shrub in the shade and failed, don't feel lonely. You have plenty of company. It is a difficult gardening task. Just knowing which plant does well in low light is not enough to guarentee success.
conditions such as moisture, air flow, temperature, soil coditions, and competition from established dominate trees all present variables to deny you your gardening success.
The first step in evaluating a site is to determine if trees overhead need to be pruned. These overhead trees may block air flow which can limit the vigor and health of low shade loving plants. The amount of light that reaches the ground will vary with the seasons and it is a moving target. The overhead trees will grow back as the landscape matures. This is the time to determine which trees should be removed. If the usefull life remaining in a tree is short because the tree is declining, diseased, or the tree has surface roots such as mullberry trees, berries that will be a mess, or hazzardous foot traps such as the walnuts, why not get them out of the way before you plant?
Densely shaded areas under large trees and under overhanging buildings are harder to plant than places that are partially shaded. The densely shaded areas may need extra water even in when in general there seems to be enough water. The large trees can absorb water needed by newly establishing plants. Large trees can deflect water away from the area under the canopy like an umbrella.
Soil fertility also can be an issue. Trees and shrubs fill the soil with roots that use up nutrients as readily as they are applied. It may seem that the more you water and fertilize, the more roots with which you have to contend. Yet adequate fertility is essential for all your plants because without it they are likely to be small and weak. In most cases a spring application of a balanced fertilizer, followed by one or two applications durring the season, will help your shade plants survive the competition of tree and shrub roots. If root competition is a serious problem, planting in raised beds above ground is a viable alternative. Raised beds can be replanted each spring with annuals, since bulbs or perennials cannot be expected to survive winter's cold. With some exceptions shade-tolerant plants will do best in well-drained, relatively fertile soil. Both sandy soils and heavy, clay like soils will likely benefit from the incorporation of organic matter such as compost, or well-rotted manure. Such materials are particularly helpful in areas of hard, compacted soils.
Shade trees Can Help Helps Cut Heating and Cooling Costs
In the past week there has been an increasing interest in
for energy conservation. Rising fuel costs can be offset by landscaping. The
is to control wind and sun. In Pa. the first line of
energy savings is protection from the cold winter winds by the
shade trees. Research shows that properly designed
screens and buffers can
reduce the heating cost of a typical residence by as much as 30
It is possible that a correctly installed screen of conifers or buffering shade trees could reduce heat loss by 20-30%. There have been studies that show that wind speeds around homes can be reduced by as much as 90%.
The best design depends on the
use and exact
location of the site. However, in most of Pa. the prevailing
winds are from
the northeast, thus, the maximum protection should be concentrated in
east. A single row
with staggered spacings is the best for protection from
both wind and
blowing snow. The wind is deflected up and over the screen,
well protected zone. The area of maximum
extend outward several times the height of the trees. If space is
at a premium,
fewer plants will be helpful, but the use of conifers and other densely
species is essential for maximum winter protection.
Arborvitae make an excellent choice for providing winter protection. Arborvitae are commonly used evergreens useful in urban areas where low maintenance and durability is needed. Many cultivars with forms such as being globed in shape, columnar, or narrow pyramidal, tend to be near buildings, doors, and walkways. Other forms which are larger are used for screens and buffers that are planted in rows.
The form of arborvitae is small, medium, or large depending on the cultivar. Some reach 50', others only 3'. Most prefer full sun to partial sun. Planting in dense shade conditions should be avoided. A moist, well drained, loamy soil in full sunlight are ideal conditions for growing healthy arborvitae. These plants will tolerate rocky, clay, urban conditions of heat drought and pollution. The most important pest we have is bagworms which must be controlled to prevent complete defoliation. Some cultivars have multiple leaders which also prove to be a detraction for the plant. Pruning out multiple leaders in some cultivars is a simple remeady. The ease in planting and maintaining this plant make it an ideal choice for planting around the house.
Plant shrubs with wind direction in mind. Since south winds are generally warmer than northeast winds, it
is considered sufficient to have moderate protection on the east
to leave the south open or restricted to rows of shrubs and
deciduous shade trees.
More openness to the south allows solar gain in the
for summer ventilation house.
The economic incentive of
reduced heating costs is additional to known benefits of reduced snow
clearing. While most homes have at least some naturally treed areas or planted
screens protecting their yard, the full potential benefit from shade tree
planting is far from being realized.
Energy conservation is a growing concern. Current studies
confirm what fuel oil dealers and utilities have known all along, homes with screens, buffers, and shade trees use
considerably less fuel.
The time to begin planning for an energy conscious future is now.
Highland Hill Farm
5275 W Swamp Rd.
Box 517, Fountainville Pa. 18923
Do you need help in planning or selecting a Plant? Why not email us a picture of the site and let us give you choices for your landscape? We can also have John Murray our in house designer give you a free landscape plan based on the photo. Just let us know
what kings of plants you prefer...Evergreen...Natives...Flowering and he will do the rest.