The Effects of Sunlight on Tree Health
As a homeowner, there’s one thing you should never forget; a tree’s health relies heavily on sunlight. Before you even begin to plant a tree, it’s best to make sure that you know what part of the house will get the most sunlight—of course, depending on where you live and how much sun each area of your yard receives throughout the day.
Whether it’s a front yard or backyard tree, there are some things you need to keep in mind about sunlight and tree health to prevent you from causing damage to your new investment and ensuring it stays healthy year-round.
What Too Much Sunlight Does to a Tree
We’ve all heard of the impact of too little sunlight on a tree which can cause some trees and plants to become weak and wilt, yet too much may negatively affect them as well. Too much direct sunlight can cause premature aging of the tree tissues, resulting in early cracking and breaking branches. Although sunlight is an essential part of a healthy tree’s “diet,” too much of a good thing can be detrimental.
In Florida, temperatures during the summer in direct sunlight can get extremely uncomfortable and can cause damage to plants, cars, and even your skin. The intensity of direct sunlight, especially for long periods, can deplete the tree’s water preserve living little water for the plant to conduct photosynthesis to survive.
Signs of Too Much Sunlight on a Tree
Luckily there are signs that you can look out for before the damage gets out of hand. If you look at the leaves of a tree in direct sunlight for long periods of the day, you may notice brown marks on the edges or tips of the leaves. This can occur from burning due to intensive light and water loss. Green leaves may develop a yellow hue as the plant suffers from a lack of calcium or nitrogen.
Wilting is also a big sign that your plant may be receiving too much light. However, it could also be a lack of water. One way to rule out one other is to monitor the tree throughout the day to see how much direct light it receives. If it gets little direct sunlight, you might just have a watering issue.
Tips for Reducing Too Much Sunlight on Your Tree
The biggest tip to reducing sunlight exposure is to make a conscious decision on where you will be planting your new tree before choosing a spot in your yard. This will save you from the headache of over-exposure before it happens. However, if you are dealing with an older tree that is already rooted in the ground, here are a few tips.
Prune out dead, diseased, or damaged wood. Conserve moisture. Apply a balanced fertilizer for acid-loving plants to correct any nutrient deficiencies. If the tree is too close to the house, it should be moved at least three feet away from the home where possible, but if this is not possible, then install a three-foot-wide band of crushed limestone 6 inches deep around the trunk as mulch and place shade cloths over this area in the late afternoon when temperatures are hot generally but not directly over the trunk
Sunlight and tree health go hand in hand, and with the right amount of light, a tree can thrive. If you are looking to plant new trees or determine if your trees are getting too much sunlight, talk to the tree care professionals at SB Tree Services.