You are probably aware trees give us shade and give off oxygen; but there are a multitude of other benefits from trees many people are totally unaware of. Are you?
Let’s start with social benefits. Did you know patients in hospitals recover faster from surgery when their hospital room gives them a view of trees? They sure do! Trees make us feel more peaceful, more rested, more tranquil and they make life just more pleasant all-around.
They also benefit our wallets! How? Property values of landscaped homes are five to 20 percent higher than those not landscaped.
That’s no surprise; but you may not know there are many other benefits from trees associated with energy costs. Trees lower your air conditioning costs. Trees reduce your heating costs by shielding your home from prevailing winds in winter. Interested now?
Trees also save your entire community money! They allow utility providers to use less water on their cooling towers, to use less fossil fuels, to build fewer new facilities to meet peak demands and to spend less on air pollution control measures. These things really add up!
Trees also benefit your community by providing enhancement for architecture and by directing pedestrian traffic. They reduce glare and reflection as well as moderating the climate and improving air quality! Trees absorb radiant energy from the sun as well as alter wind speed and direction...for your entire community!
At your home, trees provide privacy, screen objectionable views (like a neighbor’s dog pen or clothesline), and even frame and emphasize views like a distant mountaintop. Trees provide landscape backgrounds, soften harsh lines, and even bring birds and other wildlife into the area.
If you took away all the tons of benefits from trees, like removing dust and other particles from the air we breathe, absorbing pollutants like ozone and sulfur dioxide, moderating heat island effects...or even the benefit of adding considerably to the value of your home ... trees would still be well-worth planting even if they gave us only the one benefit of returning us to a more natural and less artificial environment. That environment refreshes us, calms us, heals us, soothes us and brings peace to our hectic lifestyles! Think about that the next time you look at your yard or your community.
Jerry A. Chenault is an Urban Regional Extension Agent with The Alabama Cooperative Extension System, New & Nontraditional Programs division.