How Do Trees Benefit Us?
Earth Day is just around the corner—April 22, 2019! There is no better time to talk about the Earth’s trees and why they are important. Trees offer many more benefits than just curb appeal for a home or commercial building. It’s worth discussing these, so you know more about the many tree benefits and why you should consider planting and maintaining them. Trees provide environmental, economic, public health, and social benefits.
The 4 Benefits
Clean Air & Water Quality. Trees produce oxygen and filter out air pollutants like dust. Thus, we breathe fresh air and have cleaner water, especially in urban areas.
Temperature Moderation. Shade from trees provides cooling effects. According to Canopy, neighborhoods without tree coverage, can be much hotter in the summer than neighborhoods with trees.
Wind & Rain Deflection. Trees act as windbreakers, which also contributes to moderation of cold temperatures. Moreover, Trees soak up and disperse rainwater, so that management of water flow during storms is easier.
Climate Change. Greenhouse gases are a major cause of climate change. Since trees take in carbon dioxide during photosynthesis, they reduce the amount of carbon in the atmosphere, which counteracts the greenhouse effect.
Lower Energy Costs. With wind-breaking comes decreased heating costs, and air conditioning costs lower due to shading and evaporation of moisture from the leaves.
Did you know? “The net cooling effect of a young, healthy tree is equivalent to ten room-size air conditioners operating 20 hours a day,” according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture. (Check out these other cool tree benefit statistics gathered by the Arbor Day Foundation.)
Property Value. Homes with trees are valued higher than other properties and tend to sell quicker.
Economic Stability. Trees are attractive and make commercial spaces more inviting. They attract more businesses and activity, and research even shows that consumers shop longer with trees inhabiting business spaces.
3. Public Health
Respiratory Health. Because trees help to clean the air and reduce pollutants, communities experience fewer respiratory health issues. Breathing clean air has many other health benefits, too!
Physical Health. Since trees are inviting and provide a clean, healthy environment, access to well-cared for parks with trees increase people’s desire to get outdoors and be active.
Reduce Stress. Research has shown that trees “slow heartbeats, lower blood pressure, and relax brain wave patterns” (Canopy).
Other Benefits. Besides personal wellbeing-related benefits, trees also increase the quality of neighborhood living. They give privacy from neighbors, absorb sound and reduce noise, lower crime rates, and increase your quality of life overall.
Some Planting Tips
Plant your trees in early spring—right in time for Earth Day! Be sure to water them well during the summer heat.
Tree Type & Location
Consider the type of tree you want to plant. What conditions will it thrive under? Exposure to sun or shade? What are its nutrient needs? Will it be close to any buildings or power lines?
Planting Depth & Width
Avoid planting too deeply. The base of the tree where it begins to widen into the roots (known as the trunk flare) should be above ground. The hole should be as deep as the measurement from the trunk flare to the bottom of the root ball or container, and it should be 2-3 times wider than the them as well.
Trees often come with the root ball wrapped in burlap or nylon rope, or in a wire basket. These should be removed, contrary to popular belief, so that the roots can grow outward properly. Make sure not to damage the root ball in the process.
Use a slow trickle from a hose for a couple hours at a time.
Mulch. To allow for trees to retain moisture and to prevent weed growth, place mulch around the base of the tree.
The best time to fertilize your trees generally late April to early May, or you may fertilize in late fall during dormancy. For more detailed planting tips, visit The Virginia Department of Forestry’s tree care and planting manual.
If you don’t have trees, you should consider planting them. They provide so many benefits, both to you and to the Earth. Maximize their benefits by pruning and deadwooding, preventing and treating disease, pest control, and other tree care strategies. We have all the information you need when it comes to tree planting and tree care. Contact us with questions!