Trees are a valuable addition to landscaping especially for homeowners. They provide shade, clean air, habitat for wildlife, value to your property, and even memories.

Through the years studies have shown that including them in your landscaping plans adds value to your property. Even if you do not intend to sell your property, they can provide years of enjoyment.

Properly located they can help control energy costs. A large Oak planted on the southwest side of the house can provide shade in the summer reducing air conditioning costs. Once the leaves drop in the fall, the winter sun is free to warm your house on cold winter days. A line of White Pines, planted to block cold winter winds can help reduce winter heating costs. They also provide shelter and food for a variety of wildlife. While installing bird feeders will help attract birds to your yard, providing them with nearby pines or shrubs will help them to escape danger, build nests, and obtain food, will be even more effective. Squirrels and other small mammals use them for nesting sites and food sources. When selecting trees, consider what food value they may offer to the wildlife in your community.

Planting trees helps reduce greenhouse gases. One of the greenhouse gases causing the most concern is carbon dioxide. Plants take this gas out of the air and use it in photosynthesis.

Trees can offer years of enjoyment. Planting and watching them grow can be part of your family's memories. Consider planting a tree to commemorate a milestone in your family's life. While raking leaves may seem like a chore as you get older, jumping in piles of leaves is always fun for children. Hanging a swing, building a tree house, or simply relaxing in the shade on a hot summer day can be a memorable experience.

Trees are generally classified as deciduous or evergreen with deciduous species losing their leaves yearly while evergreen species, well, don’t. Popular deciduous species include maples, oaks, elms and birches. Popular evergreen varieties include pines, spruces, arborvitae and firs.

Trees can be further grouped loosely into shade, fruit and ornamental but there can be a lot of crossover in these categories, so the distinctions aren’t hard and fast.

Whether you decide to plant oaks, pines or spruces in your landscape, you need to consider how large they will eventually be. When we moved into our home 25 years ago, there was a line of Blue Spruce planted along the road that were about 10-12' tall. Well, a couple of years ago they had started growing into the utility lines and the power company crews came along and topped several of them off. Needless to say, the results were less than aesthetic. When one of them toppled in a spring storm a couple of years ago, the remaining spruces on either side were bare from having been planted too closely. Unfortunately, the results were that we ended up cutting them all down and are in the process of replacing them with a split rail fence and some ornamental grasses and wildflowers.

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