Planting Trees and Bushes for Energy Efficiency


Careful planning can lead to a beautiful, safe, energy saving landscape. 

Spring and summer are opportune times for yard work and DIY projects. Making improvements to your landscaping can provide valuable shade and promote better efficiency, lowering your summer energy bills.

Large deciduous (leaf-shedding) trees planted on the east, west, and northwest sides of your home create soothing shade from the hot summer sun and reduce summer air conditioning costs by up to 35%. Planting a tree in the right place is important.

“Planting a new tree is not as simple as digging a hole and dropping it in the ground,” says Brian Cramer, arborist for local utilities. “Careful planning will allow your trees to last a lifetime.”

Trees must be placed strategically to avoid growing into power lines, blocking street clearances, and growing into buildings. To avoid these mistakes, consider the mature height and width of the tree before planting. If you know the mature sizes, you can plant the tree in the right place avoiding future problems.

Trees or bushes can also be planted to shade patios, sidewalks, and driveways which will cool the concrete and your yard. Shading your air conditioner can also help keep it cooler and running more efficiently.

Before going to your neighborhood nursery to buy bushes and trees visit the Mid-Columbia Forestry Council website at www. Their list includes tree varieties
that grow successfully in our area. They also provide classes and workshops for everything from planting to pruning.

Lastly, avoid planting bushes like arborvitae near any structures as they ignite quickly and burn hot and fast. Instead, plant vegetation that is fire-resistant and can withstand high temperatures.

Before starting any digging project in your yard, have the underground lines marked, so you don’t dig into trouble. Call 811 or visit at least two days before you plan to dig. 

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