Plan for Shade
Consult with your local agricultural extension office for information on shade trees that thrive in your area. Generally, brochures and pamphlets are available with information on native trees, along with planting and care instructions.
Sketch the house on graph paper, using one square for 1 foot. Determine the wind direction as well as north, south, east and west. Mark the location of the air conditioning unit and the shade cast by the new shade trees.
Trim or remove all shrubbery and foliage from around the air conditioner. Air circulation is essential for efficient cooling. Even overgrown grass can interfere with an air conditioner's airflow.
Plan to plant shade trees on the southwest, west and east side of the house. Measure the spread of the full-grown tree to ensure that the shade will cover the air conditioning unit and the house through the day.
Plant the Trees
Dig the planting hole a little deeper and three times the width of the root ball of the tree. Amend the excavated soil with compost and fertilizer according to the needs of that particular species of tree. Mound one or two shovelfuls of the amended soil in the middle of the planting hole.
Remove the tree from the pot or burlap, unwinding the tangled roots and trimming any broken or decayed roots.
Place the tree in the hole, spreading the roots over the mounded soil. After ensuring that the tree is vertical, fill in the hole, covering the roots and gently tamping the soil around the trunk. Plant the tree at the same level as it was in in the pot. Water thoroughly.
Add a 3- to 4-inch layer of mulch around the tree. Pull the mulch 3 inches back from the trunk. Mulch keeps the soil moist and reduces weed growth.
Water regularly through the first year. Unless the weather is extremely hot, a deep watering once a week is usually sufficient.