3. Trees in the city

3.4 Activities

Shade and temperature

Measure the effect of a tree’s shade.


  • 3 thermometers
  • umbrella
  • calculator
  • pen and paper

Trees provide shade and reduce the temperature in urban areas in various ways. On a very hot day you probably look for shady areas to stay cool.

Select an area shaded by an artificial structure (such as a veranda), and another nearby shaded by trees, and a third area in direct sunlight.

Place one thermometer at each of the two shaded locations. Open the umbrella in the sunny location and place a thermometer underneath so that it is not in direct sunlight.

Record on your paper the temperatures over half an hour, ensuring that the thermometers are never in direct sunlight.

Stand for a minute in each location and record how you feel.


1. How does the temperature vary between the shaded and sunny areas?

2. Is there a temperature difference between the areas shaded by the tree and the areas shaded artificially? Can you think of an explanation for your answer?

3. Which location did you feel more comfortable in?

Trees provide shade and cooler temperatures.

Planting urban trees

Find which plants are best for your urban area.

The ACT Government has guides and standards that help people choose plants suitable for the Canberra region, with information about how trees, shrubs and other flora contribute to pollination.

Use the Actsmart Canberra Plant Selector Guide to choose plants suitable for the Canberra region. The online tool allows you to find information on a wide range of plants.

Also, there are volunteer groups that seek community involvement in tree-planting and maintenance programs. Search for a volunteer group in your area.