September is a good time to buy trees, shrubs and other plants because many nurseries offer discounts to clear out stock before winter. Plus, with strategic planting, you can cut your energy bills.
In cold weather, a row of evergreens or low-crown shrubs planted as a windbreak can cut heating costs as much as 30 percent. Distance from the house should be two to five times the plants’ mature height. Bushes and shrubs placed one to three feet from your house will act as insulation.
A six-foot sapling begins shading windows right away, lowering cooling costs in summer. Trees tall enough to shade the roof are big cost savers — the U.S. Forest Service estimates that three 25-footers shading an energy-efficient house in the Southwest can reduce summer cooling costs by about 25 percent. You also can save by planting shrubs to shade your air-conditioning unit.
For more tips, visit arborday.org.
Sid Kirchheimer writes about consumer and health issues.
— September 2010