11 Reasons We Love Trees
Find out why trees are important, and the benefits trees offer, from increasing home property values to enhancing human well-being.
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“The best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago, the next best time is today.” ~ Chinese proverb
And if you can't plant a tree today, try this weekend. There are many reasons to plant a tree, including health benefits, cost savings and increased property value.
Fall is generally a great time for planting most trees and not just because the weather is better for landscaping. The warm ground combined with the cooler air helps the roots get established before winter and without the stress of the summer heat.
Here are some essential reasons to plant a tree today.
1: Increase Property Value
Trees add curb appeal, and curb appeal sells. Even if you don’t plan on staying in your house until your tree is fully mature, shade trees and ornamental trees will make your home more attractive when it's time to sell. Many studies have found that houses on wooded lots sell for more money. Even studies done by real estate experts have found that retail areas and office buildings surrounded by trees are more desirable and command a higher rent.
2: Reduce Utility Bills
If planted smartly, trees can help conserve energy and lower your utility bill. Check out this GIF from the Arbor Day Foundation. It illustrates how to strategically place trees so they will provide summer shade, winter warmth and winter windbreaks.
3: Improve Air Quality
Remember this from grade-school science? Trees consume carbon dioxide and produce oxygen, and humans are the opposite. So, not only do trees give us a fresh oxygen supply, they remove large amounts of air pollution thus improving air quality, especially in urban areas. Also, several studies have found that being near green spaces helps reduces stress and promotes physical activity. So not only will you breath better, you'll exercise more.
4: Combat Water Pollution
Stormwater run-off carries ground pollutants into rivers and streams — things like fertilizers, car oil, pesticides and pet waste. Wooded areas help absorb the chemicals before they reach our water supply and waterways.
5: Trees Are Pretty
As kids, what's one of the first things we learn to draw? A tree. Whether it's a lollipop shape, cone shape or a deciduous tree in winter, we all love looking at trees and pictures of trees. That's especially true in the fall when we start thinking about the different types of trees in our yards and which will put on the best show of color.
Learn More : Trees for Multi-Season Color
6: Improve Yard Health
Trees can also increase the health of your yard in a variety of ways. For instance, if your property has an incline, erosion can be a big issue. Planting a weeping willow or two near the incline can help prevent soil erosion, says Justin French of Fast-Growing-Trees.com.
7: Free Mulch
Mulching fall leaves with a lawn mower can act as a natural weed deterrent. Mulched leaves provide nutrients, not only to the tree itself, but also for your yard or other plants. Try planting a tree like the Autumn Gold Ginkgo, which drops almost all of its leaves at once, making for an easier time mulching, according to Justin French.
8: Improve Your Mental Health
According to master gardener Justin French, Attention Restoration Theory — a theory which links human happiness to contact with nature — states that the presence of trees promotes well-being. Trees are strongly linked to fewer negative thoughts, fewer symptoms of depression, better moods and increased life satisfaction. Another study from Scientific Reports mentions that residents of tree-lined communities feel healthier and have fewer cardio-metabolic conditions than their counterparts.
9: Create a Screen
One of the most beloved shade trees, the Autumn Blaze Maple, is big and wide, upwards of 50 feet tall and 40 feet wide. Its mighty size helps it act as a great screen all year round says Justin French. In the warmer months, Autumn Blaze provides a natural privacy and noise screen. The full foliage helps block the view into your yard. If you're in a suburban or urban area, it can also help block out noise. Researchers in Photochemistry and Photobiology have found that full canopy shade trees can also act as a natural sunscreen, providing a similar coverage to UPF 10 sunscreen.
10: Grow Food
Trees can be doubly beneficial in your yard, adding beauty but also serving as a source of food if you plant a pear, apple, citrus or other fruit or nut-bearing tree. According to the Los Angeles nonprofit TreePeople, "An apple tree can yield up to 15-20 bushels of fruit per year and can be planted on the tiniest urban lot. Aside from fruit for humans, trees provide food for birds and wildlife."
11: Reduce Crime
Trees are also known to reduce crime. A study of Chicago public housing found there is less crime — personal and property — in apartment buildings that are surrounded by trees. They cited two reasons. One, greenery helps relax people, thus reducing aggression. And two, green spaces often become gathering spaces where people come together to create a community and watch out for one another.
Before You Go Tree Shopping
- Find out what grows well in your area. A native species is more likely to thrive. Look at what does well in your neighbors' yards and ask the experts at the nursery.
- Trees are wider than they are bigger. Make sure your tree's roots have plenty of room to spread and grow. Know where your underground utilities are located and plan accordingly. If you're planting trees on a sidewalk lawn (aka — tree lawn or berm, depending on where you're from) stick to smaller varieties.
- Look up before you plant. Don't plant tall trees under power lines. That three-foot sapling may not look menacing now, but in a few years it can be knocking into utility lines and leaving you and your neighbors in the dark. Plant small ornamental trees by power lines.
- Trees need some babying in their first year. Even if the store's tag says your new tree is drought tolerant, it still needs to be watered frequently through the first four seasons. Also, make sure to mulch it correctly; yes, there is a wrong way to mulch. Don't create big mounds or "volcanoes" around trees. Leave a space of 8 inches between mulch and tree trunks.
Learn More : How to Plant a Tree