Garden Topics:  Why Trees Matter

Arbor DayWith Arbor Day in April, this is the perfect time to think about trees and what benefits they provide.

Trees properly placed around buildings can reduce air conditioning needs by 30 percent and can save 20–50 percent in energy used for heating, according to the USDA Forest Service. When planted as a windbreak on the north side of the house, they can lower winter energy usage and decrease heating bills. A large shade tree planted on the western exposure will cool the house in summer, saving up to 50% on air conditioning costs.

Stately shade trees, beautiful flowering trees, and even fruit trees have been shown to raise property values by up to 20% when included in the landscape. Trees can also be a stimulus to economic development, attracting new business and tourism. Commercial retail areas are more attractive to shoppers, apartments rent more quickly, tenants stay longer, and space in a wooded setting is more valuable to sell or rent, according to studies done by The Arbor Day Foundation. 

Where to plant treesUS Forest Service says that planting trees translates to improved water quality, resulting in less runoff and erosion. This allows more recharging of the ground water supply and means less water going into storm drains.

Planting trees is also good for your health as trees improve the overall air quality by filtering out pollutants and toxins in the air. In laboratory research done by Texas A&M University, visual exposure to settings with trees has produced significant recovery from stress within five minutes, as indicated by changes in blood pressure and muscle tension. Clean air and less stress are always welcome additions to our daily life!

In a recent study done by the National Wildlife Federation, there are about 60– to 200-million spaces along our city streets where trees could be planted. This translates to the potential to absorb 33 million more tons of CO2 every year, and saving $4 billion in energy costs. Studies conducted by the U.S. Department of Agriculture found that one acre of forest absorbs six tons of carbon dioxide and produces four tons of oxygen.

This spring, plant a tree with your children, grandkids, or neighbor children. It sets the right example.

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