Tuesday, December 09, 2014

Shading paths in Hawai'i

This post follows up on the concepts of my post Sun and Shade, Temperate vs Tropical, with some quick thoughts on paths. Ideally, Hawaiian paths would be shaded in the summer for protection of humans from the sun and maximum photosynthesis, but more open in the wet winters to prevent too much mud and muckiness.

Paths running east-west could have large trees planted on the north side to overhang the path enough to provide shade from the spring to fall equinox, while allowing winter sun to enter from the south.

Paths running north-south could be treated in one of a few ways:

  • Compromise plantings of hedges or trees at wide enough spacings or with relatively sparse canopies to provide incomplete summer shade and incomplete winter sun.
  • Coppiceable plantings of quick-growing trees or tall hedges, cut in the winter and allowed to grow through the summer. This would work well with N-fixers to provide mulch easily transported along the paths to desired destinations.
  • Deciduous plantings (such as kapok) providing the standard summer shade/winter sun service.