Caring For Big Trees
Whether planted by yourself or a family member or inherited upon purchasing a new home or piece of land, mature trees are a beautiful part of any landscape. However, caring for trees in a specific, thoughtful way is required in order for their natural beauty and environmental benefits to truly thrive. In this article, you will learn about three big benefits of large trees, as well as how best to take care of them as recommended by tree experts.
1. Environmental Benefits
Trees do amazing things for our environment. You probably know that by absorbing carbon dioxide (CO2) and releasing oxygen (O2), trees help clean the air we breathe every day. But carbon dioxide isn’t all that trees absorb. They can also take in toxins and pollutants, such as carbon monoxide (CO), ozone (O3), sulfur dioxide (SO2), and particulates. This has a big impact on air quality—more trees can mean cleaner air and less pollution. In the US alone, trees remove approximately 1 million tons of carbon dioxide every year.
In addition to improving air quality, trees also block the effects of a variety of different weather factors, such as rain, wind, and sunlight. Blocking sunlight creates shade, which reduces the temperature. Neighborhoods with lush tree canopies experience temperatures that are 6 to 8 degrees cooler in summer months than in neighborhoods that don’t have trees. In winter months, compact leaves and branches break up heavy winds, reducing heating costs by up to 15%. Trees can also reduce or prevent flooding and runoff. Trees capture rainwater and slow rainfall, and the soil conditions around trees cause increased absorption of rainwater into the soil, where it is absorbed and filtered by tree roots.
2. Economic Benefits
Trees are not only good for the environment’s health but for your wallet’s health, too. Beautiful trees raise the value of homes and entire neighborhoods. For example, homes with trees can be worth up to 15% more than their treeless counterparts. In addition, homes with trees tend to sell more quickly, and homes on tree-lined streets can sell for up to 25% more than homes where trees are scarce.
Some of the environmental benefits mentioned above can also translate into economic perks. For example, homes that are heavily shaded by trees report lower heating costs, as leaves and branches block heavy wind, as well as lower cooling costs by up to 15%, as tree canopies block direct sunlight. In addition, studies have shown that in one year, a single tree recycles over $35,000 worth of water and provides over $60,000 worth of air pollution control.
3. Public Health Benefits
In urban areas, trees provide a wide variety of public health benefits, both directly and indirectly. Urban areas tend to have increased pollution, which can cause higher rates of illness, especially in underserved cities. As mentioned above, trees can help reduce pollution by absorbing particulates from pollution.
Beyond the direct environmental benefits, many studies show a correlation between the presence of trees and the public’s overall well-being. For example, the presence of community forests is correlated to the average amount of exercise residents participate in, which leads to overall better health in the community. In addition, because of the natural air filtration that trees provide, urban communities with more trees have seen lower numbers of asthma cases.