It turns out money does grow on trees. Sorta. Studies show that trees can increase a home’s total value by as much as 15 percent. Plus, they can save you money on utilities: an adult tree on the west side of a home can reduce your AC needs by 30 percent and reduce the energy required for heating by 20-50 percent (trees both shade and insulate).
Note: The specific value of adding a tree to your property can vary significantly depending on your location and the layout of your home and yard.
Choose a tree type. In general, it’s best to pick a type (or types) of tree that’s resilient and will be relatively low maintenance. You also want something that will thrive in your area. For example, urban environments tend to have higher soil and air temperatures, so if you live in a city, you’ll want a tree that likes those conditions. Since this decision depends so much on personal preference and the specific layout of your yard, we recommend visiting your local nursery and talking through your situation with an expert. Tip: For a more detailed online resource, read Better Home and Garden’s Selecting a Tree for Your Yard.
Decide where you want to plant. Since you’ll be planting your tree or trees when they’re small, this step involves a lot of foresight. Here are a few basic questions to ask yourself: Will your tree bump into anything when it grows to full height? Where will the shade of the canopy fall? Which spot offers the appropriate amount of sunlight? It’s also important to identify any underground utilities (such as your sanitary sewer line) that need to be avoided. For a longer list of factors to consider, visit The Arbor Day Foundation’s Right Tree, Right Place. Tip: Since your tree will last for decades and isn’t easy to move once it’s planted this is a situation where a professional landscaper’s opinion can be quite valuable.
Plant your tree. Now that you’ve chosen your tree type and location, you’re ready to plant! Just like flowers or vegetables, trees have specific planting needs that will ensure they stay healthy as they grow. If you’re planting a lot of trees on your property, it may be easier to hire a professional landscaper to handle this for you. If you’re just planting one (or several) you can tackle this yourself. For a step-by-step guide on planting a tree, visit TreePeople.org.