Maine Organic Farmers and Gardeners Association
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Shade Trees Add Cool Values

September 1, 2016

Remember those sweltering days of last July? Beedy Parker, a MOFGA member, recalled on one of those days an article she had written for the Camden Herald in 1989 encouraging people to plant trees to cool and cleanse the air.

"Try walking down the town streets during one of these hot days," she wrote. "Feel the difference on your face, on your skin, as you pass in and out of the shade of trees. Much of the heat you feel while in the sun is actually rising from below you: The light of the sun is transformed into radiant heat by the pavement. This heat, in treeless towns, forms great bubbles of hot air, called urban heat islands, and these lie over large paved and roofed areas.

"Touch the hood of a car in the sun. Touch a car parked in the shade. Touch the blacktop pavement of a parking lot. Touch a patch of grass growing in the full sun and then a patch of grass in deep shade. The difference is dramatic: approximately a 45-degree gap between the sunny hot-top surface and the shaded grass."

Rather than install air conditioners, which add to the heat problem, Parker suggested planting more trees, especially in towns and cities. "It's penny-wise and pound-foolish not to plant shade trees now," she said in 1989. "And keep on planting them."

That hasn't changed.

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