CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- The spreading canopy of a shade tree can help reduce energy used to cool your home in summer.
Most of these trees reach great heights and, therefore, care must be taken when planting. Determine the size of the tree at maturity and plant accordingly. Check that the tree is planted far enough from the house so there will be no foundation damage in the future. Don't plant shade trees near chimneys as flying fire sparks can ignite tree branches.
Choose younger and smaller trees to plant over larger ones. Bigger isn't necessarily better as the larger trees are expensive, more difficult to transplant and more slow-growing after transplanting.
Here are some popular shade trees:
Oak: There are more than 400 species of oak trees. One of the most popular in our area is Quercus alba, or white oak. Slow-growing, the white oak has ashen gray bark and the leaves go from a delicate silvery pink in spring to yellow green in summer, and red or brown in fall. Some brown, or dead, leaves may remain through the winter.
Maple: Popular for their fall color, these trees produce seed pods that children call "helicopters" for their winged, floating shape. Sugar maple (Acer saccharum) is the state tree of West Virginia and has softer lobes than its fast-growing cousin, the silver maple (Acer saccharinum). The sugar maple is a better choice for planting near a structure, as the silver maple is easily damaged in storms.
Ash: Fraxinus Americana, commonly known as white ash or American ash, has smooth, gray bark on young trees that becomes fissured with age. Leaves are compound with seven leaflets, and are green above, whitish below and turn yellow, red or purple in the fall. There is, however, a concern with emerald ash borers, a pest that is destroying ash trees in the United States.
Linden: Also known as the basswood or American linden, Tilia americana is a deciduous tree that has roots that are large, deep and spreading. Leaves are dark green, smooth and shining above, paler beneath, with tufts of rusty brown hairs in the veins. Fall brings yellow-green to yellow color.
Reach Sara Busse at sara.bu...@wvgazette.com or 348-1249.