Shade trees have inherent assets that not only benefit our local environment, but our wallets too! The value of shade trees in your garden is limitless.

Most people would agree that shade trees are an asset, if only for the cool shade they provide when the summer heat is on! Another obvious asset is their natural beauty. That is why some of the most memorable features of any historic Southern town are the majestic shade trees that line the streets and garden paths.


Studies by the USDA Forest Service and the Management Information Services/ICMA both conclude that landscaping with trees typically increases a property’s value by an average of 10% and as much as 20%. According to the Council of Tree and Landscape Appraisers, the value of a mature tree varies between $1,000 and $10,000 depending on the tree’s location, size, and health. Therefore, don’t underestimate your home’s higher resale value, just by planting a few shade trees in your garden!


Properly locating shade trees around a residential property helps to regulate air temperature in the home and garden. Their shady canopy not only helps to cool the air during the hottest months of the year, it also insulates the home in winter from cold, prevailing winds. Studies by the USDA Forest service also conclude that proper location of shade trees around buildings can save 20-50% on energy bills per year, depending on the size of the tree and the building’s construction.


The correct planting, establishment, and preservation of trees in residential and commercial areas helps to reduce environmental costs related to soil, water, and nutrient run-off that negatively impact our regional water quality and wildlife populations. The mitigation of these negative environmental impacts is a big cost typically passed on to taxpayers. Established trees help to retain water onsite and recharge our state’s aquifer system.


According to the National Arbor Day Foundation, trees can be a stimulus to local economic development by improving the aesthetics of retail areas as well as providing communities with a sense of identity and unique character that attracts new business and boosts year-round tourism.


The falling leaves from large shade trees provide essential nutrients to the garden soil. These nutrients feed essential soil micro-organisms which improve the soil and help convert nutrients into an available form that feeds your garden plants. Establishing an oak leaf pile at the farthest corner of one’s property will provide rich compost for the garden after 1-2 years of decomposition. Hundreds of dollars can be saved annually on plastic trash bags, fertilizer, soil amendment, and garden mulch by simply composting the oak leaves into usable garden mulch.


Large shade trees provide food and shelter for beneficial wildlife. Types of beneficial wildlife include birds, bats, frogs, and certain insects that prey on undesirable garden pests. For example, the average Florida bat (contrary to popular belief) is relatively harmless to humans and prefers to feast on mosquitoes. Since one bat typically consumes anywhere from 6,000 to 8,000 mosquitoes per night, bats may even be considered beneficial! Bluebirds also have a big appetite for insects and help to rid your garden of unwanted pests like beetles, caterpillars and weevils that can damage garden plants.


Shade trees act as the walls of outdoor garden “rooms” that help to separate active play areas from quieter, passive zones in the home garden. The ultimate benefit of growing shade trees is how they create a peaceful, natural setting that helps to counteract the stress that comes with everyday living. Plant a shade tree today and let your “stress therapy” begin! It won’t be long before you’ll realize that the value of shade trees is limitless.

For assistance with the selection, planting, and care of shade trees for your garden, please contact our Master Gardeners at UF/IFAS Extension Flagler County at:, and check out our website:






Posted: May 14, 2020

Category: Conservation, Florida-Friendly Landscaping, Forests, HOME LANDSCAPES, Horticulture, Natural Resources, Recreation, UF/IFAS, UF/IFAS Extension
Tags: Florida-Friendly Landscaping, Shade, Shade Trees, Trees, Water Conservation, Water Quality

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