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Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Prepare for the long haul

I was wandering around our farm the other day and discovered that we have a black walnut tree on the property! This is cool.* And of course this discovery got me wandering around the internet... and I came upon something I’d known about and completely forgotten.

The Arbor Day Foundation offers 10 trees for “free.” They are not really free. To get the trees, you must become a 6-month member. Membership is $10. That’s 10 trees for 10 bucks. You can choose from an assortment. Here in northeast Mississippi, the choices are:

10 Flowering Trees
10 Trees Mix
10 Wild Bird Garden
10 Eastern Redcedars
10 Oak Trees
10 Redbuds
10 White Pines
10 Autumn Classics
10 White Dogwoods

The trees are 12-15” tall, and are shipped according to your climate zone. My folks took advantage of this years and years ago. Not all survived, but enough did to make a real difference between their home and their neighbors-- and I mean a difference that goes beyond just lookin’ purdy.

Forgetting about the snow, this nicely illustrates how planting the right tree in the right space can help lower your energy costs throughout the year. Sorry, poor quality pic. The idea is north is to the left and the pines on the north protect from north winds. Deciduous trees on the south provide shade in the summer, and allow for sun in the winter.





From the Arbor Day Foundations web site, here are a few claims about how trees can save us money and make life more pleasant:

"The net cooling effect of a young, healthy tree is equivalent to ten room-size air conditioners operating 20 hours a day."—U.S. Department of Agriculture

"Landscaping can reduce air conditioning costs by up to 50 percent, by shading the windows and walls of a home." — American Public Power Association

"If you plant a tree today on the west side of your home, in 5 years your energy bills should be 3% less. In 15 years the savings will be nearly 12%." —Dr. E. Greg McPherson, Center for Urban Forest Research

"Trees properly placed around buildings can reduce air conditioning needs by 30 percent and can save 20 - 50 percent in energy used for heating."—USDA Forest Service

"In laboratory research, visual exposure to settings with trees has produced significant recovery from stress within five minutes, as indicated by changes in blood pressure and muscle tension."—Dr. Roger S. Ulrich Texas A&M University

Sure, a 15” tree isn’t going to save you any money next summer. But if you’re preparing for the long haul... plant a tree!

*Black walnuts are cool. But do NOT plant a black walnut anywhere near a veggie garden. They are death to nightshades-- tomatoes, peppers, potatoes. From their roots and the decaying nuts, they exude a toxic substance into the soil. So if you have space, they are cool. The nuts are more flavorful than English walnuts, but are really hard to get at. And then there's the oil. But on the other hand, then there's the wood.

1 comment:

Worn Out said...

Great post! I remember last year having a bit of debate about trees on property. I was surprised at how many people who not only took down fallen and broken trees after the hurricane but had every healthy tree removed from their land. Because of the trees we have I feel they have helped us save on our fuel costs and I wouldn't want a barren landscape. Our poor old water oak will have to come down soon but two more will be planted in it's wake. I do wish the dang squirrels would move out of one of them but I wouldn't take out the tree to do it.

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