Article Title

Shade Tree: An Investment in the Future

Post Date

Rollup Image

Shade Tree: An Investment in the Future


Candlefruit Tree

Pictured: Mounts Botanical Garden Candle Tree-Parmentiera cereifera.
Click to enlarge image.

During the five month period form mid-May to mid-September temperatures can exceed human comfort levels here in South Florida. Shade trees can be one of the most effective forms of plant materials for limiting solar radiation. Summer solar radiation is most severe on the east and west sides of your home during the summer. Those east and west exposed windows and walls of your home can be cooled in summer by shade trees. On a hot summer day, an average size tree will transpire as much as 300 gallons of water, giving it roughly the same cooling effect as 10 room air conditioners.

To determine where to place a shade tree, use a long pole. With your pole in hand, walk out in your yard during the time of day you want a hot area shaded. Stand the pole upright and move it around until its shadow falls across the hot area. The position of the pole will give you a close approximation of where to plant a tree for shade. Realize that a mature tree will be taller and broader than your pole, so you may want to plant the tree further back. Before planting, look up to avoid overhead wires and always call 811 before digging to protect yourself and others from unintentionally hitting underground utility lines. Shade trees cool the air around the home which help make less expensive forms of cooling, like paddle fans, attic fans, floor fans, practical additions to air conditioning.

Call the Palm Beach County UF/IFAS Extension Master Gardener Volunteer Hotline for recommendations of native shade trees for South Florida or download University of Florida publication 'Native Trees for South Florida'