Thursday, April 3, 2014

Save big by planting trees on your home, farm

by Michael J. Andrews
Lead District Conservationist
Did you know the cooling effect of a young, healthy tree is the same as having 10 air conditioners operating 20 hours every day?  
In addition to their cooling power, trees provide other benefits – no matter if you live in the city or in the country.  
Trees growing along the banks of rivers and streams keep the soil and nutrients on your land and ensure the water running off is cleaner downstream.  
These same trees also help prevent floods by slowing down water during periods of heavy rain. As the water slows, it helps recharge underground aquifers that supply fresh water for drinking wells and irrigation.   

Aside from their benefits to the community, trees are a perfect tool for the frugal homeowner and farmer. 
 Plant a tree in your field to provide much needed shade for any livestock (or people) out in the sun during the summer.  
The trees will also help you retain water in your soil in periods of drought.  
A native deciduous tree planted in the right location can keep your house or barn temperature regulated. In the hot summer months, the tree will have its full set of leaves to keep your building cool. As the tree loses its leaves during the fall, it will be ready to allow the greatest amount of sunlight to warm your house or barn during the day.   
To maximize your energy savings, plant your large deciduous trees on the east, west and northwest of your building.  Doing so can help you reduce your air conditioning needs by 30 percent and heating needs by 20-50 percent depending on your location.  
USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service works with farmers and ranchers to plant trees as part of conservation work. The agency helps people who own or lease land to restore forests and stabilize the soil in vulnerable places, and NRCS installed more than 198,000 acres of trees and shrubs in fiscal 2013 nationwide.  
Stop by your local NRCS office, and learn more about how trees can help your land and how to get started.   
If you want more information, stop by our local field office, located at 555 State Route 1340, Dixon, KY 42409. 
      (photos provided by NRCS)