Trees offer homeowners many things outside of adding beauty to the landscape. Trees can be used as a natural method to reduce and control temperatures throughout the year. In summer, strategically placed trees can lower the amount of heat that reaches the house; in winter, trees can act as both a windbreak to keep out cold air, and can allow the sun to heat certain sides of a house. Choosing the type of tree and its location is one of the most important elements of how to plant a tree to reduce and control temperatures.
Choosing the Tree
Decide which trees you want. Understanding the function you want the trees to perform will help you choose the proper trees.
Use deciduous trees, which drop their leaves in the autumn, for optimum cooling in the summer. Look for shade trees that grow to 25 and 50 feet in height with broad canopies. Use evergreens for windbreaks to keep cold breezes away from the house in winter.
Decide where to plant the trees. Plant tall and large trees, such as maple or oak, to the west or northwest of your home to shade during the summer and allow the sun to warm the home during winter. Plant squat trees such as red maple, Japanese maple or evergreen along the west or north of the home. These act as windbreaks to keep cold air from reaching the walls.
Planting the Tree
Place the trees at a minimum of 10 feet from the house; use greater distances for trees thatth are higher, wider or have root systems that spread out instead of down.
Measure the root ball circumference. Dig a hole for the tree three times larger than the diameter of the tree's root ball. Make the hole as deep as the root ball for clay soil; make the hole 3 inches shorter than the height of the root ball for sandy soil. Avoid disturbing the bottom of the hole. Set the soil from the hole aside.
Add compost to the soil you removed from the hole. Use a ratio of 4 to 1, or 25 percent, of the amount of soil removed. This adds nutrients and minerals to the soil before you backfill over the roots.
Remove the root ball covering. Place the tree upright into the center of the hole. Pull some of the roots loose gently to allow all of the roots to breath. Backfill the hole, putting soil around the roots first. Fill the hole completely.
Water the area with a low pressure hose. Allow the water to get the soil damp without soaking it; if the soil settles, backfill the area with more soil to even it out. Check for the moisture content by taking a handful of soil from the newly planted area. Form a ball in your hand with the soil; if the ball falls apart, you should add more water.