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Make a sun map to prepare for tree planting


Mapping your sunshine

Spring is the perfect time start thinking about bringing the environmental benefits and natural beauty of trees and plants to your property. Before you grab a shovel, make sure to pick the perfect spot for a tree to grow.

Creating a sun map to track sun exposure in your growing space can help. You can make a sun map for a backyard, a garden plot or even a porch or balcony.

To create a sun map, make a diagram of your yard and divide it into quadrants. It may help to visually mark the lines in your yard with string, a garden hose or chalk. Each hour after sunrise, make a tally mark on each area of your diagram that receives full sun. At the end of the day, add up the marks to determine the hours of sun exposure each area gets.

Once you know your sun situation, it's easy to pick the appropriate trees and plants for your growing space.

  • Plants and trees labeled "full sun" need six or more hours of sunlight per day.
  • "Part-sun" or "part-shade" labels indicate that the plant needs three to six hours of sunlight.
  • Plants labeled "shade" require three hours or less of sunlight each day.

In addition to sun exposure, factors including moisture, wind and soil conditions also will affect the success of trees and plants.