When considering home improvements that can save money and boost the value of a home, most people focus on windows, kitchens and bathrooms. But one of the most overlooked home value boosters is also one of the cheapest and easiest to do, says the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB): It’s planting the right kind of trees in the right places.
Being tree-smart can save money over the life of your home and put thousands more into your pocket when you sell. “Trees can affect everything from your heating and cooling bills to your resale value,” says an NAHB report. “Over time, the trees you take time to plant now can single-handedly increase the value of your property by as much as 10-15 percent.”
Trees also produce energy and water-saving shade, habitat and food (fruits and nuts) for birds and other animals, or just a beautiful scene.
Here are some tree tips that can make you money:
Choose species that will thrive under local conditions
In areas with high temperatures and little water, plant trees that are drought tolerant. In areas with high rainfall, select trees that do best with large amounts of moisture. Planting trees that grow naturally in your area will improve your value-boosting odds. Consult a local nursery or landscape contractor for suggestions on trees that will thrive where you live.
Location, location, location
If your trees’ roots destroy your sidewalks and driveways or must later be cut down because they conflict with power lines or other property features, you’ve lost your investment. Choose spots with adequate sunlight and water. Also, guard against injury. A mesh fence can prevent animals from damaging your saplings. When selecting the perfect spot, envision what the tree will look like when grown. Your nursery or landscaper will be able to tell you the maximum width and height for most types of trees.
Practice special tree care
Trees are most vulnerable in their first few years. Newly planted trees should be watered deeply on a regular basis. Allowing a hose to drip at the base of a tree for several hours will permit the water to soak deep into the soil and encourage deep rooting. This will give the tree a better chance of surviving drought and windstorms.
Consider the climate
In areas with hot summers and cold winters it is best to plant deciduous trees. These will provide shade in the summer but will allow sunlight to pass through in colder months.