We are about to enter into the summer months in Westchester County! As we start to pull out our summer clothes, we also begin thinking about putting the air conditioners back in the windows. People use various methods to escape the high heat of summer, but there are certainly ways to stay cool without locking ourselves away in our air conditioned houses. Let’s face it, fresh air is an essential part of enjoying summer! Shade trees are definitely the answer for those of us who love the outdoors but need a retreat as the temperatures start to rise. The temperature difference can be quite extreme between standing in direct sunlight and taking a seat beneath nature’s canopies!
When thinking about your landscape design, it is a good idea to incorporate some trees. There are numerous varieties of shade trees that can certainly be very appealing. Typically these are deciduous trees that produce a thick leaf coverage in the warmer months then shed their leaves upon the arrival of the cooler seasons. You can also incorporate some evergreens and tropical trees in your landscape design, depending on your desired look.
Let’s take a look at some of the shade trees that can help to offer a “cool spot in the shade” and also spruce up the overall appearance of your landscape design. This is definitely something to think about as you are designing the layout on your property. Maybe some of these trees are already on your property and now you can see them in a new light!
The White Birch Tree, also known as the European birch, can grow up to be 30 to 60 feet tall and features “drooping” branches. These trees have smaller leaves that offer a nice diffused shade. Birch trees in general are tolerant of most soil and climate conditions. They do, however, like moisture during the dryer summer months. Birch trees grow very fast, which is a plus if you are planning a new layout design while the peeling white bark can stand out in a landscape.
The Silver Maple is the fastest growing of the Maple trees. Its branches spread out, producing a gorgeous canopy in the hot summer months! They can grow in upwards to 80ft and have a “wingspan” of up to 40ft! It is a very adaptable tree but it does require the most sunlight out of all the maples. The leaves are simple and palmately veined with deep angular notches between the five lobes. These trees are often planted for ornamental purposes because of their rapid growth and ease of propagation and transplanting. They are highly tolerant of urban situations and are frequently planted next to streets.
Weeping Willow Tree
Besides their obvious charm and elegance, Weeping Willows also serve as a fortress from the blazing sun during the summer months! The weeping willow is a medium to large-sized deciduous tree that has the potential to grow up to 60 feet tall. They tend to grow rapidly, but unfortunately have a short lifespan. The beautiful shoots are a yellowish-brown, with very small buds. The leaves are patterned and spirally arranged. They are light green, with finely serrate margins and long tips. A cool summer breeze tends to animate these gorgeous trees and they are a very sought after addition to any landscape design!
So get out there and enjoy the beautiful weather that mother nature is serving up! Plan a picnic or grab your favorite book and find your spot in the shade under your shade tree of choice! Plus, by turning off the air conditioners we are saving money and energy which helps reduce your carbon footprint. Enjoy your summer!