Find out about their many benefits and contact licensed professionals for assistance
They provide shade, shelter, and beauty: Trees enhance our lives and communities in so many ways that it’s difficult to calculate their true value for ourselves and our world.
However, there’s a way you can find out how much that tree in your yard is worth, not just in terms of money, but also in the bigger picture. The free National Tree Benefit Calculator lets you enter details—location, species, and size—about individual trees around you, giving you an idea of both the economic and environmental value your trees provide on an annual basis.
For instance, using the calculator, a single 10-inch-diameter London planetree at the Department of Consumer Affairs’ (DCA) headquarters provides an annual overall monetary benefit of $94, factoring in property-value and curb-appeal increases, energy-use reduction, air-quality improvements, stormwater and erosion reduction, and pollution decreases. And that’s just one tree!
If you want even more information about the values and benefits of trees, the Arbor Day Foundation has nine reasons why you should plant them:
- Fight climate change—Wish you could do more than recycling and reducing your carbon footprint to combat climate change? Trees have you covered. Through photosynthesis, trees absorb harmful carbon dioxide, removing and storing the carbon and releasing oxygen back into the air.
- Clean the air—Trees don’t just absorb carbon dioxide. They also absorb odors and pollutants like nitrogen oxides, ammonia, sulfur dioxide, and ozone. It’s estimated that one tree can absorb nearly 10 pounds of polluted air each year and release 260 pounds of oxygen.
- Prevent soil erosion and rainwater runoff—During heavy rains, water runoff finds its way to streams, lakes, and wetlands, creating the potential for flooding. It also picks up and carries pollutants along the way. But trees’ leaf canopies help buffer the falling rain and their roots hold the soil in place, encouraging the water to seep into the ground rather than run off.
- Have fun gardening—Gardening can be intimidating for newbies because there are so many variables. Which plants and flowers should you put next to each other and which should you separate? Which bloom in the summer and which bloom in the fall? When you’re dealing with trees, there’s none of that: Just choose a spot and you’re good to go.
- Save money—Trees conserve energy in summer and winter, providing shade from the hot summer sun and shelter from cold winter winds. With trees standing between you and the elements, you’ll spend less on your energy bill to heat and cool your home.
- Increase your home’s value—Studies of comparable homes with and without trees show that, if you have trees in your yard, your home’s value increases by up to 15%.
- Attract and support wildlife—Trees provide nesting sites, food, and shelter for birds, squirrels, and other wild neighbors.
- Improve your mental and physical health—A view of trees in urban areas has been proven to reduce stress, anxiety, and even the crime rate. In addition, tree-filled gardens on hospital grounds have been found to speed healing in hospital patients.
- Create a legacy for your descendants—Trees can live hundreds of years, so when you plant one, you’re giving a gift to your children and grandchildren. It’s a symbol of your commitment to the environment and the beauty of the world around you that will live on far beyond your own lifetime.
Check out resources for free neighborhood trees and, to incorporate trees and other outdoor elements to their—and your—best advantage in a landscape, contact a professional licensed by the Department of Consumer Affairs’ Landscape Architects Technical Committee; for assistance with tree pruning and upkeep, contact a tree service contractor licensed by the Contractors State License Board; to check a professional’s license, visit https://search.dca.ca.gov.
Related Reading: Landscape Architects: Building Nature Into Our Lives; Specialized Contractor Licenses: Building on Skills
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