Planting a Tree Can Make You Healthier and Wealthier
Find out how trees make your life better, then go out and plant at least one this weekend.
“The best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago, the next best time is today.” ~ Chinese proverb
Okay, so if you can’t do it today, try this weekend. There are many reasons to plant a tree, including health benefits, cost savings and increased property value.
Also, fall is 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 five simple 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 building surrounded by trees are more desirable and command a higher rent.
Trees are also known to reduce crime. A study by the 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 and create a community that watches out for one another.
2. Reduce Utility Bill
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. Especially 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. If vibrant fall color is one of your tree-buying criteria, take a look at this selection.
Before you go tree shopping, here are a few things to think about.
- 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 eight inches between mulch and tree trunks.