New study finds that planting trees can help drop early evening temperatures

If you’ve been feeling the heat lately, an American University study found that individual trees may be able to help, at least in the early evening.

"When it’s still pretty hot out these days, they can actually cool by about the same amount as these larger like clumps or park trees," explained Assistant Professor of Environmental Science Michael Alonzo.

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Alonzo and colleagues figured out the benefits of scattered, distributed trees in part by using data collected by thermometers placed on top of cars.

He thinks part of the reason for the heat mitigation is that the trees cast long shadows as the sun drops, and unlike park trees, the scattered trees are in a position to shade people, houses, and more.

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"We have more opportunities to plant individual trees and have that be useful because that wasn’t something that people were thinking was a big urban heat island mitigator previously," Alonzo said.

The idea is this research could be used by urban planners of the future, especially in places where it would be difficult to fit a park.