The unofficial start to summer is here! Bring on those sunny days – filled with picnics, hikes, cookouts and all those outdoor adventures we look forward to all year.
Though, we wouldn’t enjoy those moments nearly as much without our trees!
Shade trees instantly cool us down on those hot, humid summer days. They even cool our homes! When planted on the west side of your house, trees can reduce your air conditioning use by 30 percent.
Did you know, in addition to keeping us cool, trees also protect us from UV rays?
Yes! Sitting under a shade tree provides the equivalent of SPF 10 sunblock – according to the University of Purdue.
We like to think of trees as Nature’s Sunscreen! Learn how to make the most of tree’s shady benefits below.
How Trees Protect Our Skin
Now more than ever before, we need to do everything we can to protect our skin.
The Skin Cancer Foundation estimates that one in five Americans will develop skin cancer in their lifetime. To reduce this statistic, our best bet is to be proactive.
In addition to wearing sunscreen each day, it’s best to stay in the shade when we’re outside.
Tree shade reduces UV-B exposure by about 50 percent. That’s a statistic we like!
Here are a few tips to maximize the benefit of tree shade:
- Sit under trees with dense foliage for best protection from the sun. The less sunlight peeking through the leaves, the better!
- Choose a tree near other trees or buildings to further block the sun.
- Trees provide the most coverage from UV rays during the middle of the day.
- Any tree coverage is better than none at all!
Grow More Shade – Plant Shade Trees to Shield Your Skin from the Sun
Looking to gain more shade in your yard?
See some of our favorite shade trees that grow well in most areas of the country below. Trees that lose their leaves annually, called deciduous trees, provide thicker coverage from the sun.
Use this as a starting point before talking with your arborist about specifics for your yard and area.
Best Types of Shade Trees
Find out what gardening zone you are in by using the USDA Plant Hardiness Zone Map here. Plants in your zone are most likely to thrive in the climate and weather of your area.
- Paper birch (zones 2-7)
- Norway Spruce (zones 2-7)
- Eastern white pine (zones 3-8)
- Red oak (zones 3-8)
- Sugar maple (zones 3-8)
- Blackhaw viburnum (zones 3-9)
- Red maple (zones 3-9)
- Weeping willow (zones 3-9)
- White oak (zones 3-9)
- Tulip trees (zones 4-9)
- London plane (zones 5-9)
- Crepe myrtle (zones 7-9)
- Live oak (zones 7-10)
Protect Trees to Maximize Their Benefits to Your Skin
Once you’ve got a shade tree in your yard, ensure it keeps growing strong and tall. That way, you can lounge under its leafy canopy for summers to come.
Here are a few, simple ways to improve your tree’s long-term health – in addition to annual checkups from the tree doctor.
Just a little TLC each season makes all the difference!
Inspect to Protect. Examine trees and shrubs from the bottom up. Check for dead or dying branches, soft or decaying wood, small holes in the trunk or shallow pits in the bark.
Provide the Essentials. Food and water! Deeply water trees during dry spells and droughts. Also, the trees in our yard often grow in soil that lacks nutrients. Fertilizer helps replace those missing nutrients. See if your tree needs to be fertilized here.
Look Up Often. Many tree pests and diseases can be effectively treated when spotted early. So, admire your tree often. If you see anything on their leaves or bark that looks odd, take action. Get an expert opinion quickly.