Money Does Grow on Trees!

Ever heard the expression “money doesn’t grow on trees”? Well, LEAF is here to say it does! In the summer, shade trees planted on the west and south sides of your home can reduce cooling costs by 25–40% according to a study by the University of California Berkeley.














Money CAN grow on trees if you plant strategically.


Trees provide us with a number benefits; they are beautiful to look at, can bear fruit for us to eat, and clean our air. But one important thing that doesn’t get a lot of attention is that trees can help us conserve energy, which means saving money. Having the right tree in the right place can lower your electricity demands for air conditioning or heating, especially during peak hours, which ultimately translates into money saved! Trees provide strategic summer shade, keeping your home under cover from the harsh sun and its accompanying heat.

Planting large deciduous trees with low branches, such as a bur oak or an American elm, on the south or west-facing side of your house can provide protection from direct sunlight. Planting an oak or hackberry with fairly high and wide crown can shade the home but still allow for a breeze to pass through. Any native tree near your home is better than none, as a young, 2-meter-tall tree that has been strategically planted can already provide some shade, and after five to ten years, it will be able to shade the roof from the hot summer sun and keep the home naturally cooler. Plant today, reap the benefits tomorrow!









Look how much this Hackberry has grown in just a few years! The surrounding area already looks much shadier and cooler. The ideal location for this tree is to the south of your home, and planting a few of them properly spaced apart will provide maximum shade coverage!














This tulip tree is strategically planted - close but not too close to the house in order to provide shade but minimize future problems/conflicts.


Taking these tips into consideration, decide where to plant based on where you spend most of your time, or the size of your windows in different areas of the house! Remember that the tree should be appropriate for your light and soil conditions by consulting with an arborist beforehand. Ensure the tree has enough room to grow by planting it at least 2 meters away from house/building foundations, any pavement, interlocking brick, or other hard surfaces, as tree roots need both oxygen and access to water. If multiple trees are going to be planted, make sure that large trees are at least 8 meters apart and small-growing trees are at least 2 meters apart. 









View this helpful info graphic that condenses all the information in this blog and more.


Read more about the benefits of the urban forest and green infrastructure by visiting Green Infrastructure Ontario. GIO’s mission is to bring together organizations to share information, educate and advocate for greater understanding and implementation of green infrastructure across Ontario.

Looking to plant in your yard? Read more about our subsidized Backyard Tree Planting Program and book your consultation today. And, make sure to subscribe to LEAF News to keep up to date on current events and upcoming educational opportunities.

Lam Tran is a Planting Program Assistant at LEAF.

LEAF offers a subsidized Backyard Tree Planting Program for private property.  The program is supported by The Town of Newmarket, The Regional Municipality of York, City of Toronto, Toronto Hydro, Oakvillegreen, Town of Ajax, and Ontario Power Generation. For details on how you can participate, visit