Blog Post By Jona Elwell

Feelin’ Shady: Trees to Help You Beat the Heat

We are truly starting to feel those lazy, hazy days of summer here in the District…you know when you find yourself crossing to the shady side of the street because the sun feels like a laser beam. So to help keep you cool all summer long—these trees are your survival guide for the swampy heat of D.C.

We know the idea of planting large canopy trees can be daunting for a homeowner – what about maintenance, the foundation, power lines, or or or – but rest assured, we’ll help you find the right tree for the right place so it can thrive unobstructed and you can enjoy it worry-free. Compared to a small-stature tree, a strategically located large canopy tree has a bigger impact on conserving energy, mitigating an urban heat island, and cooling a parking lot. They do more to reduce stormwater runoff; extend the life of streets; improve local air, soil and water quality; reduce atmospheric carbon dioxide; provide wildlife habitat; increase property values; enhance the attractiveness of a community; and promote human health and well being. And when we plant large canopy trees, the bottom-line benefits are multiplied. When it comes to trees, size really does matter.

Overcup Oak | Quercus lyrata

With its straight trunk and round top, the overcup oak is a relatively unknown small to medium-sized shade tree that fits well into many small yards in Washington D.C. The Overcup Oak has brilliant reddish or gray-brown bark and displays leathery dark green leaves in summer. The overcup gets its name from its shaggy, ornate acorn cap – and the acorns are highly valued by wildlife. This tree needs full sun and will reach approximately 30 feet in height in 40 years. This tree is available through our residential planting program, RiverSmart Homes. You can also get up to $100 back for planting this tree yourself through our tree rebate program.

 

American Beech | Fagus grandifolia

The American beech is an iconic, sturdy shade tree with smooth, blue-hued bark. It produces small (beech) nuts in a showy pod that are valued by wildlife and visually unique. It’s dark green leaves turn a beautiful yellow in fall. A slow grower, American Beech usually reaches 50’ tall and 30’ wide in about 50 years. Beech does well in shade or partial shade, but can also be planted in full sun. This tree is available through our residential planting program, RiverSmart Homes. You can also get up to $50 back for planting this tree yourself through our tree rebate program.

 

Southern Magnolia | Magnolia grandiflora

This elegant tree has large fragrant flowers that bloom from March to June, striking seed pods that drop bright red seeds in the fall, and bold, beautiful leaves. Southern magnolias are a much sought-after, durable evergreen tree that grace gardens and yards throughout the District. Southern magnolias reach approximately 50 feet in height in about 50 years. It thrives in full sun or partial shade. This tree is available through our residential planting program, RiverSmart Homes. You can also get up to $100 back for planting this tree yourself through our tree rebate program.

 

 

Northern Catalpa | Catalpa speciosa

A showy medium-sized shade tree is often known as “cigar trees,” catalpas are typically planted for its springtime show of large, white, orchid-shaped flowers from which develop slender, long green seedpods that darken and drop in fall. At home in most soils and moisture regimes, the catalpa is a tough urban tree. Catalpas will thrive in full sun to partial shade and may attain 40 feet in height in 30 to 50 years. This tree is available through our residential planting program, RiverSmart Homes. You can also get up to $100 back for planting this tree yourself through our tree rebate program.

 

Black Willow | Salix nigra

The black willow has elongated green leaves and dark brown to black, deeply furrowed bark. The tiny yellowish-green flowers that appear in catkins in the spring provide nectar for bees and other pollinators. Growing best in full sun to part shade, the black willow can grow to a height of 50 feet in an urban setting. You can get up to $100 back for planting this tree yourself through our tree rebate program.

 

 

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