Understanding the Natural Light Requirements of Trees

Much information has been written about the necessary requirements of trees in order to ensure their survival. These requirements generally include oxygen, water, and sunlight. Just as species of trees require differing amounts of water, so do they also require differing amounts of sunlight. This fact is sometimes overlooked. Perhaps this is why nurseries and other entities that sell trees typically label them with not only the water requirements specific to the species of tree, but also with the sun requirements specific to the species of tree as well. Let’s examine the typical natural light requirements of trees.

Full sun is perhaps the most self-descriptive requirement. A tree that requires full sun generally requires at least six hours of full exposure to sunlight, sometimes more. However, it’s important to pay careful attention to the water requirements of a tree that thrives best in full sun. Although full sun may be its preferred growing environment, without sufficient water, the exposure to prolonged heat can be detrimental to the tree’s liveliness.

Partial sun, sometimes used interchangeably with partial shade, is considered the middle ground of natural light requirements. Trees that require partial sun typically require at least three to six hours of sunlight each day. It has been suggested that a tree determined to need partial sun requires at least the minimum recommended amount of sunlight, while a tree determined to need partial shade requires respite from the heat, especially that produced in the hottest hours of the day.

If planting a tree requiring partial shade is planned for your property, consider planting it in an area sure to receive some shade throughout the day. Such an area may include safely in the shadow of a more mature tree or tree line or in an area of the landscape that receives sunlight for the recommended amount of time, but shade at some point as well. If you are unsure if these areas exist on your property, carefully and consistently monitor sunlight and shade patterns for several weeks before planting to determine where such an area may exist on your property and whether or not its sunlight and shade exposure will be sufficient. Consult an Austin arborist if you have questions.

Full shade is the last of the natural light requirements of trees and is also quite self-descriptive. However, full shade trees should not be mistaken for not requiring sunlight at all. In fact, very few plants can thrive with no amount of sunlight. Instead, full shade trees essentially refers to those that require three hours or less of direct sunlight each day.

If you are planting trees that require partial or full shade, seek the expertise of an Austin tree trimming professional before trimming proximal trees, as the elimination of any protection made available by them may negatively impact the newly planted trees once strategic limbs are trimmed or even removed.

If you have questions concerning the amount of natural sunlight a species of tree on your property requires or the balance of sufficient water as based on the sunlight and heat exposure the tree may receive, contact an Austin tree care service for assistance.

About the Author: Andrew Johnson is the owner of Central Texas Tree Care, a leading provider of Austin tree service in Central Texas. Certified ISA Austin arborist services including: tree trimming, tree removal, tree care and oak wilt treatment. For more information on Austin tree service, please visit https://www.centraltexastreecare.com.

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