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MORE THAN ORNAMENTAL: FOREST RESEARCHER SAYS PLANTING CHRISTMAS TREES MAKES FOR A PRETTY SCENE WHEN IT COMES TO HOME ENERGY COSTS

MORE THAN ORNAMENTAL: FOREST RESEARCHER SAYS PLANTING CHRISTMAS TREES
 MAKES FOR A PRETTY SCENE WHEN IT COMES TO HOME ENERGY COSTS
 RADNOR, Pa., Dec. 2 /PRNewswire/ -- This year's Christmas tree could help form a windbreak in the winter, a sun block in the summer, and could eventually save as much as 20 percent on home heating and cooling costs year round, according to a USDA Forest Service scientist.
 Gordon Heisler has been studying the effects of trees on home energy use as part of the Northeastern Forest Experiment Station's Urban Forestry Project in Syracuse, N.Y., and said, "Live Christmas trees with roots -- balled and burlapped, or potted in the nursery trade -- can be used in homes and then planted after the holidays in your yard to provide energy savings, beauty and other environmental benefits in the years to come."
 Heisler has found that by reducing wind and blocking the sun, trees save energy for heating and cooling a house. In most parts of the United States rows of closely spaced evergreen trees can save between 15 and 20 percent of the energy used for heating and cooling if the house is in an otherwise unprotected location. But even a single tree can provide some savings.
 In the temperate climates that exist over most of the United States, savings are greatest when trees are located properly to reduce the wind in winter and sunshine in summer. Evergreen trees should be planted on the side of the house that is most exposed to the prevailing winter winds. For most parts of the country this would be the north and west sides. The west side of a house is also the ideal site for planting a tree to provide shade; the south is a less desirable location, because the winter sun is partly blocked, particularly by evergreens.
 Your Christmas tree this year could even be used to start a row of evergreens to form a windbreak. Adding an additional tree each year to the row could be an effective Christmas tradition. To form a dense windbreak, plant trees close together in the row. A 6-foot spacing is not too close, especially if the tree row is to also serve as a fence or visual screen.
 Most species of trees used at Christmas will make good windbreaks. The blue spruce is a good selection for smaller properties because it grows relatively slowly and is very dense. According to urban forester Clyde Hunt, of the Northeastern Area State and Private Forestry in Radnor, some other species that survive quite well include white pine, Douglas fir, and sugar-cone spruce. He has found that smaller trees seem to survive better than larger ones.
 Hunt advised keeping trees inside for only about a week. "Ten days is tops!" The buds of well-watered trees will start to grow if the tree is inside a month or so, but the tree won't survive if planted back outside in winter. Temper the trees for the change to inside temperatures by bringing them into an unheated garage first to thaw out. Sprinkle them there to moisten the needles and soil. Do not flood/drown the roots in a deep bucket! Moist soils are fine. After its indoor holiday, move the tree outside, first sprinkling the needles and be certain to pre-dig the hole early in the fall before outside soils freeze! Just fill the hole with dry leaves until ready to plant the tree.
 Replant your tree with such foresight and it will give you the gift of reduced heating and cooling costs in the years to come!
 For more information about this research contact:
 Gordon Heisler, Northeastern Forest Experiment Station, c/o State University of New York, College of Environmental Science and Forestry, Syracuse, N.Y., 13210, 315-470-6730.
 /delval/
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 /CONTACT: Diane Whetstone of the U.S. Forest Service, 215-975-4230, or Gordon Heisler (technical) of the Northeastern Forest Experiment Station, 315-470-6730/ CO: Northeastern Forest Experiment Station ST: New York IN: SU:


MP-KA -- PHFNS2 -- 8181 12/02/91 07:39 EST
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Date:Dec 2, 1991
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