The Benefits and Requirements of Planting Trees Around Solar Farms

Garden Gate Writer
June 21, 2024

At Garden Gate Nursery, we believe in the power of green energy and the beauty of green landscapes. As solar farms become more prevalent, integrating trees into these installations can offer many benefits, enhancing both the environment and the community. In this blog, we'll explore the advantages of planting trees around solar farms, discuss some regulatory requirements, and recommend some of the tree varieties in stock that are perfect for this purpose.

Why Plant Trees Around Solar Farms?

1. Aesthetic Appeal

Solar farms, while crucial for sustainable energy, can sometimes be seen as visually intrusive. Planting trees around these installations can significantly enhance their appearance, blending them more harmoniously into the surrounding landscape. A well-designed green buffer can transform a utilitarian solar farm into a beautiful, park-like setting.

2. Environmental Benefits

Trees are vital for the environment. They absorb carbon dioxide, release oxygen, and provide habitats for wildlife. Planting trees around solar farms can create mini-ecosystems that support biodiversity. Additionally, trees can help mitigate the heat island effect, potentially improving the efficiency of solar panels by maintaining a cooler surrounding environment.

3. Soil Health and Erosion Control

The roots of trees help stabilize the soil, reducing erosion and improving soil health. This is particularly important for large solar farms where soil erosion can be a significant issue. Trees and other vegetation can help maintain the integrity of the land, ensuring the long-term sustainability of both the solar farm and the local ecosystem.

4. Community Relations

Integrating trees into solar farm projects can address the aesthetic concerns of nearby residents, fostering better community relations. Green buffers can act as visual and noise barriers, making solar farms more acceptable to local communities.

Regulatory Requirements

Various states and local jurisdictions have begun to implement requirements or guidelines for planting trees and other vegetation around solar farms. These requirements are designed to enhance the visual appeal, environmental benefits, and overall sustainability of solar projects. Here are a few examples:

  • Massachusetts: Guidelines from the Massachusetts Department of Energy Resources (DOER) recommend maintaining or enhancing vegetation around solar arrays.
  • Minnesota: Local jurisdictions in Minnesota may require vegetation management plans, which include planting native grasses and pollinator-friendly plants.
  • California: Several counties have ordinances that mandate landscape screening around solar farms, including the planting of trees and shrubs.

It's crucial for solar farm developers to consult specific local and state regulations to ensure compliance and maximize the benefits of integrating trees into their projects.

Tree Varieties for Solar Farms

At Garden Gate Nursery, we offer a variety of trees that are well-suited for planting around solar farms. Here are some of our top recommendations:

1. Greenspire Linden (Tilia cordata 'Greenspire')

The Greenspire Linden is a versatile tree known for its dense, pyramidal shape and glossy green leaves. It’s perfect for creating an attractive, uniform barrier around solar farms. This tree is hardy and can thrive in various soil conditions.

2. Harvest Gold Linden (Tilia x mongolica 'Harvest Gold')

The Harvest Gold Linden stands out with its striking golden fall foliage. It’s an excellent choice for adding seasonal color and visual interest to the landscape. This tree is also resilient and low-maintenance, making it ideal for large-scale planting.

3. Globosa Spruce (Picea globosa)

The Globosa Spruce is a compact, globe-shaped evergreen that provides year-round greenery. Its unique shape and dense foliage make it a great choice for creating visually appealing and functional barriers around solar farms.

4. Weeping Serbian Spruce (Picea omorika 'Pendula')

The Weeping Serbian Spruce offers a distinctive, graceful appearance with its weeping branches. This evergreen adds an elegant touch to the landscape and provides excellent year-round screening and habitat for wildlife.

5. Canada Red Chokecherry (Prunus virginiana 'Canada Red')

Known for its striking red foliage and white spring flowers, the Canada Red Chokecherry adds vibrant color to the landscape. It is adaptable to various soil conditions and offers seasonal interest, making it a valuable addition to any solar farm.

6. Musashino Columnar Zelkova (Zelkova serrata 'Musashino')

The Musashino Columnar Zelkova is perfect for narrow spaces due to its upright, columnar growth habit. It provides excellent windbreak capabilities and has attractive, serrated leaves that turn a beautiful shade in the fall.

7. Urban Sunset® Maple (Acer truncatum x A. platanoides 'JFS-KW187')

The Urban Sunset® Maple is a resilient tree with dark green leaves that turn a brilliant red in the fall. Its upright form and tolerance to urban conditions make it ideal for planting around solar farms in both urban and rural settings.

8. Starlite® Crabapple (Malus 'JFS-KW207')

The Starlite® Crabapple is known for its stunning white flowers in the spring and small, red fruit that persists into winter. This tree is disease-resistant and adds significant ornamental value to any landscape.


Integrating trees into solar farm projects is a win-win for the environment, the community, and the aesthetics of the installation. At Garden Gate Nursery, we are committed to supporting green energy initiatives with our high-quality tree varieties. Visit us to explore our selection and get expert advice on the best trees for your solar farm project.

For more information or to place an order, contact us.

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