shade treesWhile there are many upgrades you can make to your HVAC system to help make your system more efficient, one of the most cost effective additions has nothing to do with your system. Shade trees planted around the exterior of your home not only improve your home’s curb appeal, they can also help cut summer cooling costs.

Early spring is the best time to choose and plant shade trees so you can start reaping their natural cooling benefits.

Benefits of Shade Trees

Healthy shade trees have all kinds of benefits. Not only are trees beneficial to the planet, they are also beneficial to the average homeowner.

Shade trees are good for thirsty summer lawns. By slowing water evaporation, trees decrease the amount of water your lawn needs to stay looking plush and green in hot weather.

Healthy, mature shade trees can also increase your property value. A well-planted yard is not only pleasing to the eye, it can also raise the value of your property by as much as 15 percent.

One of the most overlooked value of shade trees is the amount of energy they help homeowners conserve. By planting three simple trees in strategic locations around your home, you can cut summer air conditioning needs by up to 50 percent. By reducing the amount of energy needed to cool your home, you help reduce carbon dioxide and other pollution emissions from power plants. And the reward for cutting energy costs is extra money in your pocket.

You can also plant trees around the air intake of your air conditioner. By shading the area around your air conditioner, your system will pull in cooler air. This way, your system doesn’t have to work as hard to maintain a comfortable indoor air temperature during the hottest months of the year, allowing you to save even more on your cooling bills.

The Best Shade Trees

Choosing the best shade trees for your yard starts with understanding your local climate. The type of trees that thrive in hot, humid areas will not flourish arid areas. Selecting species that are native to your area will help ensure you’ll be enjoying the benefits of your shade trees for years to come.

If your main goal of planting trees is to help raise the efficiency of your HVAC system, deciduous trees should be at the top of your list. Deciduous trees develop a broad, leafy canopy during the spring and summer. These leafy trees help shade your home and yard, helping keep temperatures cooler. In the fall, deciduous trees shed their leaves. Without leaves to cast shade, sunlight beams right through to add warmth to your home just when you need it most.

For more information regarding which types of trees are best suited for your area, check out the Arbor Day Foundation’s Guide to Choosing the Right Tree.

Deciding Where to Plant Your Shade Trees

Before you start digging holes for your new trees, make sure you are aware of the location of any underground wires or gas lines. It is always a good idea to consult your local utilities provider before you begin to dig. They can help you understand the safest places in your yard to dig.

You should also consider consulting a professional landscaper to help you determine the best location to plant your new shade trees. You want a location that will offer everything your new tree needs to survive and grow.

For example, you want to ensure your new trees get the proper amount of sunlight. Also, make sure you plant trees 10 to 20 feet from your home’s exterior. This distance will help protect your home’s foundation from creeping tree roots as your shade trees grow while allowing the limbs and leaves to protect your windows from the hot summer sun.

To help HVAC system get the most out of your new shade trees, follow these basic rules for tree placement.

  1. Plant shorter shade trees on the east and west sides of your home. This is where the sun will shine closest to the horizon, making shorter trees the best shading options.
  2. Plant taller shade trees along the southern side of your home. This will help provide ample midday cover and shade your windows and roof during the hottest part of the day.


Now is the time to start planning ways to trim summer cooling costs. Be sure to contact your local HVAC professionals for more energy-saving options.