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The Benefit of Trees

October 13th, 2010

The Benefit of Trees

A tree is a beautiful asset to any landscape but they have more to offer than just shade. Healthy trees absorb carbon dioxide and other pollutants released with the burning of fossil fuels and other human activities. A well-placed tree in your yard can reduce your utility bills by conserving energy, increase your property’s value and offer positive psychological and social benefits to you and your community.

Trees and shrubs improve air quality by absorbing fine particulate matter and gaseous pollutants like Sulfur dioxide and Nitrogen oxides that are released when fossil fuels burn. Trees also absorb small soil particulates from human actives like farming, construction and demolition. The US alone emits over 5 billion tons of carbon dioxide (CO2) into the atmosphere each year but we can offset that emission by simply planting a healthy stand of trees. As a tree grows it brings in CO2 from the atmosphere and through photosynthesis turns the harmful CO2 into sugar, storing it in the form of cellulose, also know as wood.

Additionally, a well place tree can reduce the cost of cooling your home during the hot summer months. The best planting scheme is to plant deciduous trees and shrubs so that the bright summer sun and icy winter winds are blocked from penetrating your home while the welcomed winter sun is still accessible. In many locations throughout the US, a larger shade tree planted at the southwest corner of your yard will effectively shade your home from the hot mid-afternoon sun.

Street trees, planted in green public spaces, have the added advantage of changing an urban landscape into a welcoming neighborhood. Each resident equally benefits from this simple green gesture. Many community leaders have noticed this positive change and have created programs for residents to plant trees in their neighborhood. Not surprisingly, these programs eventually help to reduce crime and build respect among the neighbors. This has brought one urban neighborhood in Los Angles together and is sure to work in other places.

Studies have also shown that there is an intrinsic value placed on properties with healthy trees and these properties continually appraise higher than those sparse or void of trees. Plant your shade trees eight or more feet from the road to protect them from passing traffic and ensure their continued health and maturity. Further, apartments complexes with healthy landscapes inclusive of trees rent faster and have fewer vacancies than those without greenery, which also holds true for business parks.

Trees are not simply a place for birds to nest, tire swings to swing or for people to sit underneath and enjoy, they also have tremendous benefits for our evolving environment, rising utility bills and our ever-growing communities.

Newly built neighborhoods always feel like they are missing something because of the lack of large trees.
Cindy, Denver Co.