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Not only can trees add beauty to your property, they can also reduce the operating costs for your home. In the summer, when the sun is the hottest, a tree's leaves are at their fullest and providing maximum shade. If the shade is cast on your roof, this can reduce the amount of air conditioning you need to keep your home cool. If the shade is cast on a grassy area beside your home, they can lower the temperature of a gentle breeze coming in your open windows and can reduce the need to water that area of grass.

When picking out trees for your yard, here are some considerations:

  • climate - first and foremost, pick a tree suitable for your climate or else you'll have firewood in a hurry. Similarly, don't plant a lone tree in the center of your yard if it's natural habitat is clumped together with other trees.
  • size, shape, and growth rate - plan for how the tree looks when you plant it, while it grows, and when it reaches maturity. Some types of trees, like poplars, grow tall very quickly but do not spread out. Others remain close to the ground.
  • leaves - some trees retain their leaves (needles) through all seasons and so provide privacy year round, others provide a colorful splash in the fall, and still others (Japanese maples) provide color year round; think through your requirements for all seasons
  • fruits and seeds - trees reproduce by bearing seeds, sometimes embedded in fruit. An apple tree in the backyard can be a real delight if you like apples, applesauce, apple butter, and a lot more things "apple." However, left alone, fallen, rotten apples can attract wild animals in search of food and be unsightly. .

Trees can be a lifetime investment. Your best bet is to research your trees carefully by studying information provided by nurseries and landscapers.

Rhododendron (sambuscus thunder)

Rhododendron (sambuscus thunder)

Our small leaf, Thunder Rhododendron offers a stunning contrast of foliage and flowers. The dark magenta blooms are presented in mid-April against foliage that has yet to lose its mahogany winter color. Soon after bloom, the leaves revert to their deep green color. Keep outdoors. 9 years old 12" tall

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