Planting trees helps with household needs

4 trees, 4 reasons

Planting trees helps with household needs 5

Mike Carey, City of Tacoma Urban Forester

The City of Tacoma’s Environmental Services Department is teaming up with TPU and the Puyallup Watershed Initiative, giving Pierce County residents $30 discounts on trees at participating nurseries! Purchasing and planting a tree can seem overwhelming — there are so many to choose from! To help you decide which tree could be right for you, we reached out to City of Tacoma’s urban forester, Mike Carey.

When we asked Mike what type of tree he recommends for those living in the South Puget Sound, we didn’t get a simple answer. “First,” he said, “you have to ask yourself ‘What are you looking to accomplish with your tree?’ Trees can be used for a whole lot more than just looking pretty.”

When thinking about planting a new tree for your home, it is important to focus on the space available, as well as your checklist of desirable traits. “Well-chosen, well-placed, and well-tended trees can enhance energy savings, help manage rainfall, filter or buffer air pollutants, cool the ambient air around your home, and of course, beautify the landscape,” said Carey.

Here are the top things Mike Carey recommends you consider when selecting a tree for your home:

Wind ProtectionPlanting trees helps with household needs 1

Trees planted to shield wind have the potential to insulate a property and reduce the need to crank up your heat during the winter months.  For best results, plant a row of medium to large evergreen trees, perpendicular to the dominant direction of the wind.

Mike’s favorite:
Deodar cedar (Cedrus deodara)
Mature Size: 50’H x 40’W

Energy Savings – Summer Cooling / Winter WarmingPlanting trees helps with household needs 3

Well-placed shade trees on the east, west and northwest sides of a home shade the home from the direct sun during the summer, which can lower air conditioning costs by up to 35 percent.

Deciduous trees on the south side of a home allow for the sun to penetrate through the bare branches and warm the house after the leaves have fallen during the fall and winter months.

Mike’s favorite:
Katsura (Cercidiphyllum japonicum)
Mature Size: 50’H x 25’W

Noise ReductionPlanting trees helps with household needs

Planting “noise buffers” around your home can reduce noise by 5 to 10 decibels, cutting the noise in half. In an area that frequently experiences noise pollution, dense evergreen trees are perfect for warding off the sound.

Mike’s favorite:
Incense cedar (Calocedrus decurrens)
Mature Size: 40’H x 15’W

Visual Buffer

Trees are property beautifiers, helping to hide unsightly features. It is important however to take special care not to block important sight lines that are necessary for public safety.

Mike’s favorite:
Vanderwolf limber pine (Pinus flexilis ‘Vanderwolf Pyramid’)
Mature Size: 40’H x 20’W

For more reasons to plant trees, and the species that can help you meet your needs, visit the City’s tree planting webpage at

Ready to get your tree? Request a Tree Coupon valid for $30 off a tree purchases, for up to three trees!

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