The sun puts a strain on air conditioners and other cooling systems during the scorching summer months. One way to combat higher temperatures and increase your comfort level is to plant trees and shrubberies right in your own garden. This act can slash down cooling costs by as much as 12 percent.
About Trees and Shrubs
According to the US Department of Energy, a maximum of three trees planted around the house can save you around $100 – $250 in utility costs annually. For best results, trees have to be placed in the south and west side of your home. Planting shrubs, on the other hand, provide you with privacy as well as improve the overall landscape design of your yard. Shrubs also reduce solar heat gain during the summer and acts as a windbreaker that protects the house from cold during winter.
When choosing which tree and shrubberies to plant, consider if they are fast-growing, low-maintenance, and are of the local variety. Here are a few recommendations:
- Choose forms that fit design specification– Analyze your existing landscape to find out which trees and shrubs fit in. Make sure they will not grow too large in the spot you have chosen for them. Also, check if there is any possibility they could damage the foundation of your house with their roots, or block doors and windows once they fully mature.
- Deciduous and evergreen groups– Deciduous trees and shrubs grow foliage for only a certain period of time. They go dormant and lay bare during the winter. On the other hand, evergreens keep their foliage all year round. A great garden should have a mix of both deciduous and evergreen trees and plants.
- Contrasting plant form, texture, and color– Contrast is one aspect of landscape design that is sometimes disregarded but is equally important. Having a variety of trees and plants in your yard creates diversity and prevents monotony in the overall design.
Recommended Tree Types
Now for some recommended tree types for Louisiana residents.
If you want to plant trees that will give shade and provide respite while you are in your yard, then the willow oak and lacebark elm are great candidates. The willow oak is both a shade tree and an ornamental tree. Its canopy of leaves can block out the sun while at the same time providing visual interest because of its striking appearance. The lacebark elm has a distinctive mottled bark, and can easily adapt to adverse conditions, making it a durable and sturdy tree.
Small flowering tree
Imagine your yard enveloped in blooms during spring time. You can achieve this by planting small flowering trees that add color and beauty to your landscape. Pink and white dogwood, mayhaw, grancy gretybeard, silverbell, and crape myrtle are great small trees that bear flowers. These will certainly add to the beauty of your existing landscape.
Large flowering trees
This tree type provides both shade and ornament to your yard. With these in your garden, expect blooms which can brighten up even the gloomiest of weathers. Some of the large flowering trees you can plant are swamp red maple, southern magnolia, tulip tree, and oriental magnolia.
Wet soil tolerant
If your landscape has poor drainage, then you need to plant trees that thrive on lots of water such as willow, mayhaw, swamp red maple, and nuttall oak.
It pays to plant trees that can survive a drought and make the landscape resistant to dry weather. Yaupon, vitex, Chinese pistachio, crape myrtle, and green ash are all great drought-tolerant trees.
If your end goal is to plant trees that provide wildlife habitat, then you can’t go wrong with sawtooth oak, mayhaw, yaupon, and wax myrtle.
Recommended Shrub Types
Shrubs can be used to provide privacy in between houses (called hedge), and they can be used as accents to put emphasis on a prominent landscape feature (called foundation plants). Some of the more popular shrubs in Louisiana include azaleas, camellias, hydrangeas, holly, and gardenias.
When looking for the right planting spot, ensure that no part of the building will interfere with the growing of the tree or plant. You don’t have to dig a deep hole, just make sure that it is as wide as possible to give room for the tree or plant to grow and mature without interference. Keep the trunk flare exposed by making sure that anchor roots are just below the surface soil. Remember that if you can’t find the trunk flare, that can only mean that the tree has been planted too deeply.
If you are unsure of what kind of trees and shrubs to plant, or you have no idea how to plant them in your yard, contact us today!
Filed in: Tree Care