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Monday, March 5, 2012

Fruit Trees to Provide Shade for the House

Q. I want to replace my acacia-like tree because it does not lose its leaves during winter and thus persists in shading our house from the sun at a time we actually need the solar heat. I want a deciduous peach, apricot, plum or apple tree which would be a fast-grower, provide shade during summer, give little shade during winter, and bear some flowers and some good fruits on the side.

A. If you want some shade on your home to help reduce cooling costs in the summer you should focus on shading the South and West facing walls of your home. Since the walls typically have less insulation in them, they are the worst offenders for heat gain in the summer.

            It is not as important to shade the roof as it is to shade the west and south walls. If you do focus on the walls, then some of the smaller fruit trees such as peach, apricot and plum and semi-dwarf apple will work just fine. All of these fruit trees are deciduous so they will not create shade from December through February or March.

            I would recommend planting them about 5 to 7 feet from the wall and that far apart so that you can work all sides of the trees. Another possibility is to trellis them along the wall to create shade. The trellis should be a stand-alone trellis, not attached to the wall. You can also achieve the same thing by putting an arbor on that side of the house and using grapes to shade the walls from the overhead sun.

            My recommended varieties can be found on my blog which is called Xtremehorticulture of the Desert and can be found at http://xtremehorticulture.blogspot.com

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