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The Importance of Natural Light For Growing Trees

Trees provide so many benefits in our lives. Most of us grow fruit trees for their yield of healthy, luscious crops or simply enjoy trees’ beauty and the clean air it gives. Well, our home orchards won’t be complete without one. 

You probably realise how much there is to learn about by growing trees. With all the information we can get online on how to grow and maintain trees, one of the most basic rules of plant care is often overlooked: sun exposure. This is an essential element for growing plants and must be emphasised enough. 

Adequate light exposure is vital for nurturing trees to create enough energy to grow. Without ample access to this necessity, trees won’t be able to survive. 

So, whether you’re planning to grow trees in your backyard or already have one but are still unfamiliar with its importance, this article will cover everything you need to know. 

Why do trees need natural light?

Sunlight is the key source of energy for all plants, including trees. 

Trees are autotrophs which means they can create their food. Like how we grab stuff from the supermarket to cook food, plants also need to collect environmental ingredients. 

To combine the ingredients, they need energy. That’s when sunlight comes in. The green chemical found on their leaves, chlorophyll, captures the light as efficiently as possible to fuel the necessary processes for survival.

How important is sunlight to growing trees?

Of all the things we need to consider regarding tree planting and care, the right tree in the right place must be at the top of the list. There’s so much a growing tree need in order to become established and grow healthy. 

Keep in mind the amount of light your designated spot gets because as trees depend on photosynthesizing to make their food and survive, having too much to too little sun exposure can weaken and even kill young ones. 

Sunlight also impacts the tree’s foliage density and flowering and fruiting capabilities. If a tree gets the perfect amount of light it needs, it will surely grow healthy and bear abundant fresh picks for you. 

Different Trees Have Different Needs

While all the trees need sunlight, not all need the same amount. The species of trees dictate the amount of sunlight it requires to grow healthy. 

Let’s start with the basics:

1. Full shade

This means a tree needs limited sun exposure; at least 6 to 8 hours of direct sunlight daily. No tree can survive in total darkness, but they will flourish on the side of homes or shaded yards. 

2. Partial shade

This means a tree needs at least 3 to 6 hours of direct sunlight daily but needs protection from the extreme midday sun. Too much sun can burn and damage the tree, especially the leaves. 

3. Partial sun

This means a tree requires at least 4 to 6 hours of direct sunlight. 

4. Full sun

This means a tree needs all the sunlight it can get. It requires the most exposure to direct sunlight, with at least 6 to 8 hours a day. 

The shade tolerance of a tree is not about how much shade a tree needs; instead, it’s about how well a tree can survive with limited access to sun exposure.

So when choosing which tree to plant, make sure you do some research about what sun exposure (or shade tolerance) it needs and whether your chosen planting spot would suffice it. 

How do you know if your tree needs more light or is getting too much sun?

If you notice the leaves starting to droop or becoming dull green or yellow, a tree is not getting the sunlight it needs. 

On the other hand, the tree is overexposed if you notice signs of burning on the leaves, looking like brown patches or scorched leaf tips. 


Sun exposure is just one factor that can greatly impact the health of growing trees. Before starting your home orchard, ensure your planting location meets all the requirements a tree needs to thrive.

While every location and tree kind requires extra care, it is best to seek help from experts. At Trees Down Under, we are the Sydney tree professionals that would be honoured to assist you with your tree issues. 

Trees Down Under