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Garden Topics:  9 Reasons to Plant Trees

“He who plants trees
loves others beside himself.”
-Thomas Fuller

Trees are most often planted for shade and beauty, but they serve us in many more ways. They define the landscape, providing a sense of scale and creating the bones of the garden. They help to blend the home into the surrounding scenery so that the home is nestled into the landscape, rather than just sitting upon it.

Other benefits include:

1. SOCIAL VALUE

Trees make life more pleasant. We respond to the presence of trees beyond simply observing their beauty. We feel serene, peaceful, restful, and tranquil when among trees. The stature, strength, and endurance of trees give them a cathedral-like quality. Because of their potential for long life, trees frequently are planted as living memorials. We often become personally attached to trees that we or those we love have planted.

2. ATTRACT WILDLIFE

Leafy canopies supply birds, butterflies, insects, and squirrels with food and shelter. The insects are food for chickadees, kinglets, and ladybugs, while squirrels and woodpeckers love seeds, nuts, and apples. Bees and butterflies gather pollen, and sip nectar from many varieties.

3. ADD PRIVACY

As lot sizes shrink, backyards and patios, which serve as personal sanctuaries, become more important to our sense of well-being. Trees (or shrubs for that matter) provide for that—a row of plants along a property line gives you a sense of wooded enclosure without making your property feel too hemmed in.

4. FRESHEN THE AIR

Trees remove nitrogen dioxide, sulfur dioxide, ozone, carbon monoxide, and small particulates from the air. Their shade cools the air enough to reduce smog levels by up to 6 percent.

5. HELP MANAGE RUNOFF

When rain falls on a tree, part of the water is absorbed by leaves; the rest evaporates or drips to the ground over a period of minutes or hours. This delay gives the soil more time to absorb the rainfall and recharge the groundwater, so there's less runoff and erosion to choke and pollute streams. Where trees border creeks and rivers, overarching branches cool the water for stream wildlife.

6. REDUCE CARBON

Trees breathe it in, use the carbon to build mass (half of a tree's dry weight is carbon), then exhale oxygen. On balance, they retain more carbon than they lose. So every tree you plant helps reduce your carbon footprint.

7. SAVE ENERGY

Deciduous trees, positioned to shade the house on hot summer days when their leaves block the sun, also warm the house in winter by letting the sun pass through their leafless branches. Such natural cooling and heating helps conserve electricity and can save you money. How much depends on the way your house is built, but energy savings generally range from 8 percent to 12 percent for a single 25-foot-tall tree to more than 25 percent for multiple well-placed trees.

8. INCREASE HOME VALUE

According to some studies, planting trees can increase the value of your home by about 7 percent. (10 percent for large trees in high-income neighborhoods).

9. PROVIDE A WINDBREAK

Homes sheltered by evergreens are warmer in the winter months than those that are not. Typically, evergreen trees should be placed so as to block the winter northwest winds. Evergreen trees can also provide noise reduction.

The Fall Season is the perfect time to plant, so don’t delay. The climatic conditions are perfect, and many trees are discounted here at summer’s end.

Trees

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