Benefits of Urban Trees

Hurricane Irma’s winds swept through our area and caused quite a few trees to break, lean, or fall over. You might be wondering – should I plant another tree?

There are several reasons trees are worth the trouble of replanting. Trees are very important for our health. They create feelings of relaxation and well-being, provide privacy and a sense of solitude and security. Trees block city noise. They also reduce air pollution by trapping and holding onto pollutants such as dust, ash, pollen and smoke that can damage our lungs. They absorb carbon dioxide and other dangerous gases. Most importantly, they produce the oxygen we breathe.

Trees also help conserve water and reduce soil erosion. Trees create mulch by dropping their leaves on the soil surface that protects the soil, and their roots increase the amount of water that can flow into the soil and recharge our water source. This reduces runoff from storms and reduces soil erosion that can pollute our water. Without trees, cities would need more storm water drainage canals and sewer treatment facilities to handle the increased water runoff.

They help us to save energy by insulating our houses and providing much needed shade to keep our houses cooler. They can provide windbreaks in the winter to help reduce our heating costs. All this helps to lower the amount of energy used, the amount of pollution produced, and helps to reduce our cooling and heating costs. Having trees will lower greenhouse gas emissions that heat up our planet. Trees help by removing the carbon from carbon dioxide and storing it as cellulose.

Having many trees in the city is good for the economy because it attracts businesses and tourists. People will stay and shop longer along a tree-lined street. People want to live and have businesses where there are many trees, and these properties are more valuable. Having healthy trees on your property can increase its value by 15 percent. In wooded developments, workers are more productive and sickness is reduced.

Lastly, trees add beauty and provide for wildlife. They provide beauty with colors, flowers and scents, shapes, forms and textures. They screen ugly scenery and help to soften the hard edges of buildings. They create the structure for ecosystems that provide habitat for other plants, and food, space and housing for birds and animals.

As you can see from this list, trees are very important in our lives. We may not notice all the things they do for us until they are suddenly gone. So, should you plant another tree – YES, most definitely!

For information on tree selection: http://hort.ifas.ufl.edu/woody/selection.shtml

For information on the wind resistance of trees: https://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/pdffiles/FR/FR17500.pdf