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Relationship Between Sun Exposure and Tree Health

When it comes to any form of plant life, from smaller shrubs up to bushes, large plants and trees, one of the simplest requirements out there is sunlight. Different plants require varying amounts of sunlight plus other factors to survive, but virtually all share this common characteristic.

At Affordable Tree Care, our tree trimming and shrub removal services are geared in large part toward creating the proper levels of sun exposure and shade for the trees and other elements of your property. Let’s go over the basics on why sun exposure is important for trees, some of the varying levels of sun exposure and the terms for them in the tree world, plus a couple important planning tips when it comes to assessing shade and sun.

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Why Sun Exposure is Important

How many of us remember our basic high school or junior high science class where we learned about photosynthesis? Those who do already know why sunlight is so important for trees and other plants.

For those who don’t, photosynthesis describes the process during which plants synthesize nutrients from a combination of carbon dioxide and water. As we noted earlier, different trees need different amounts of sunlight to complete this process – many will be stunted or won’t grow well if they are grown in areas with too much shade, but some others may also wither or be weak if they’re exposed to too much sun. Sun and shade will also play a big role in foliage, flowering and fruiting properties of trees.

Sun Exposure Levels

Generally speaking, there are a few categories trees or other plants are placed in when it comes to their needs for sunlight:

  • Full sunlight: While it may sound like it, full sunlight doesn’t necessarily have to be a situation where the tree receives sun for literally the entire day. Rather, at least six hours of sun on an average day is enough to fall into this category – cool morning light is often good, complemented by shade in the later afternoon and potentially root protection based on mulch.
  • Partial sun/partial shade: In many circles, these terms are used interchangeably. However, there’s technically a difference – partial sun usually means between three and six hours, while partial shade means you should consider areas with more shade than sun in the afternoon periods when the sun is particularly warm.
  • Full shade: Full shade refers to trees or plants that very rarely are exposed to the sun, such as those that sit on the east side of structures or hills.

Planning and Planting

When planning new trees to plant, sunlight and shade are important considerations along with other factors like soil, space, and various disease protections. It’s vital to remember that new trees will not be the same size for very long – if you’re planting a larger seedling, know that it could grow to a point where it provides shade for other plants or trees that may or may not need it. This kind of advanced planning is important for ensuring you don’t inadvertently obstruct a tree’s optimal sun exposure.

For more on trees and sunlight, or to learn about any of our tree removal, trimming or care services, contact the pros at Affordable Tree Care today.

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