Proper Shade Tree Placement
Proper placement of a shade tree is important for receiving the maximum benefits. The most important consideration is shading the walls and roof of the home that is exposed to the sun. Trees can also be used to shade a patio or deck.
In the Midwest the most intense sun is on the south, southwest, and west exposures. Trees placed on these sides of the home will screen the hot rays of the sun helping to reduce the temperature of the home and help you save money on air conditioning.
To shade a roof or wall, the tree needs to be planted close enough to the home to do the job. For most homes a medium to large tree should be planted 15 to 20 feet from the house. As the tree grows it is pruned high and the canopy is allowed to reach over the roof. When using shade trees this close to a home, select species with a durable wood and branch structure.
For shade on a patio or deck, a tree can be located as close as 5 feet from the edge of the patio as long as it is far enough from the house.
There is often a concern with tree placement close to the home and the effects of the root system on the foundation. Trees planted at these distances will have little or no effect on the structure on the foundation walls. Planting closer then 15 feet is not recommended.
When the home faces either south or west if all possible avoid planting the tree right in the middle of the lawn. As the tree grows it hides the home and detracts from the setting. If possible locate the shade tree to one side or the other. This side placement helps to enframe the house setting it off.