#UPDATE  Operation Cool Shade Update
Just 181 trees remain. Rosewoods have sold out. Members wanting to purchase trees should get to the MEC Member Services Office soon. Trees are for MEC members at a cost of just $9, which includes a free LED bulb with each tree purchased. Below is what remains:

36 Chilean Mesquites
This is a low-water, thornless tree well suited for the desert environment. It provides excellent shade. Deep, infrequent watering will help establish a deeper root system that will help prevent it from falling during strong winds.

65 Desert Willows
Once established, this tree has few, if any, watering requirements. It is fast-growing and produces a fragrant flower that will attract honey bees, butterflies, and hummingbirds. Desert willows shed their leaves in the winter, meaning the sun will have an opportunity to warm a home. It is important to prune this tree to encourage upward growth.

80 Willow Acacia
Great tree for space-restricted areas. As with the mesquite, infrequent, deep watering will help establish a stronger root system. It does well in areas with poor soil and requires no supplemental fertilizing. As the willow acacia grows, it is important to thin the canopy to aid in wind resistance.

Mohave Electric Cooperative is once again helping members save on energy costs with Operation Cool Shade.

The program encourages the use of trees to help reduce the demand for energy by shading a residence from direct sunlight. Doing so reduces stress on an air-conditioning unit, lowering the need for energy, which saves members money.

Four different types of desert-adapted shade trees are available for $9 per tree: Chilean mesquite, willow acacia, desert willow, and rosewood. There are 1,800 trees available: 600 of the rosewood and four hundred each of the others.

MEC will be taking tree orders Sept. 11-24 between 8 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. at the Member Services Office at 928 Hancock Rd. With each pre-order tree purchase, members will receive a free energy-saving LED light bulb to assist in year-round energy savings.

To maximize the benefit of having shade trees, plant on the sunny side of a home. Members should plan in advance of picking up the trees and landscape so they shade the walls, roof, and windows. “The less energy needed to cool a home results in financial savings,” said Steve Bouman, energy management specialist at MEC. “Planting shade trees in the right location can reduce cooling costs by up to 20 percent.”

As with any digging activity, members should call Arizona 811 at (800) 782-5348 before digging or visit azbluestake.com to create a ticket. Arizona 811 will notify utility locators to mark the placement of underground utility wires and pipes. Bouman said members planting trees need to account for growth of the tree and root system when selecting a location. Also, be careful not to plant the trees too close together. Tree distribution is Nov. 9 at the Bullhead City Justice Complex parking lot located on Alona’s Way.