If I don't have space for a large tree in my landscape, are there other ways to create shade and conserve energy with plants?

Trees for Energy Conservation April 27, 2016 Print Friendly and PDF

There are many ways to create shade and conserve energy in your landscape without planting a large tree. You may use large shrubbery or small trees to cast shade onto sidewalks, air conditioning units, lower portions of walls, and west-facing windows to keep them from heating up. Many cultivars (types) of shrubs have a narrow, upright form that is amenable to small spaces.


If you do not have room for even a shrub, you should consider installing a trellis or arbor to support a fast-growing vine in an area where the shade would benefit energy efficiency. A trellis affixed to a west-facing wall that supports a deciduous vine is ideal for shading the wall in summer while permitting passive solar heating of the wall in winter. Likewise, an arbor can be constructed over a patio to create a framework for vines to proliferate and cast shade.

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This work is supported by the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture, New Technologies for Ag Extension project.