Shade trees provide beauty, protection from the sun and heat, and reduce energy costs. If you live within the city of Los Angeles you can get free young shade trees to add shade to your home.
Ask me how I know this.
Shade trees are important to your home’s landscape. We once had a gloriously green back yard. The drought killed the grass, but there were four beautiful, mature birch trees between our house and the one behind us, to the east.
View of our backyard, spring 2010
Unfortunately, they were on our neighbors’ property.
Last Friday, at the end of a very busy week for me, I noticed the neighbors had someone trimming one of the trees. I didn’t really pay attention until the tree was gone.
Heartbroken, I called over the wall to ask if they were cutting all of the trees. They were. They have their reasons for doing it, but having been given no notice, there was nothing I could do to change their minds.
I watched helplessly as the tree guy systematically dismembered and chopped each tree down, section by section, with a chainsaw.
One tree gone, a second tree being murdered
Once I realized what was happening and helpless I was to stop it, I just stood back there and sobbed, watching the trees disappear, and with it the shade they provided over our yard from the morning sun. And the privacy between our second floor and the neighbors’ backyard, and the middle school beyond.
Now in the morning, instead of beautiful dappled shade and the glory of the green birch leaves, we are subjected to harsh sun beating down upon our house and backyard. For a while each morning, the sun’s glare bounces off the roof of the middle school’s MPR and directly into the windows at the back of the house. I have to wear sunglasses to work in the kitchen.
I can’t even show you the new view. It’s too sad.
Yes, we will get drapes or treat the windows or install awnings.
But we cannot quickly replace the beauty and shade and protection of those trees. A friend let me know that the city of Los Angeles and other groups give away up to 7 free shade trees to local households in a program called City Plants. Unfortunately we are NOT in the city limits, so I’m looking into other programs and what we can plant that will work well and grown quickly.
In the meantime, it hurts my heart to look out the window and see the place where those trees aren’t.