Money doesn’t grow on trees. Or does it?
by Vicki Day
If you’re trying to decide if you should plant a tree, consider this. Trees can certainly add beauty to any landscape, but they also have a positive impact on the environment, can make you healthier and even reduce your energy costs.
Trees are vital to the health of our planet and everything on it.
Here’s a partial resume of a tree: they create oxygen, improve air quality by absorbing and filtering pollutants, preserve our soil, conserve water and support our wildlife. Trees return moisture to the air which form rain-bringing clouds, they keep us cool, clean our drinking water and save energy. Some provide us with food and there are studies that say just looking at trees can reduce anxiety and stress. Trees have a big job, especially when you consider that over 20% of Earth’s oxygen is produced in the Amazon Rainforest. Yes, they are that important and why deforestation on a global scale has contributed to the increase in carbon dioxide and other pollutants collecting in the Earth’s atmosphere.
But what difference can planting one small tree possibly make?
According to Omni Calculator, an online resource devoted to calculating detailed ecological statistics, planting just one tree with a trunk circumference of only 4 inches will produce enough oxygen to allow 4 people to breathe for an entire day! It will also erase a carbon footprint equivalent to 71 feet of air travel, evaporate enough water to have the cooling effect of 5 air conditioners working for 20 hours and save you about $23 on your heating and cooling bills for one year. So one small tree can make a big difference. And those numbers increase significantly as the tree gets bigger.
There’s no question that trees make for a healthier planet but let’s talk about the impact they have on your corner of the world.
Trees add beauty to the landscape but the right trees in the right locations around your home also conserve energy and reduce energy bills. With a little planning before you plant you can reap year-round benefits. The Arbor Day Foundation seems to have the perfect plan to ensure this. Planting tall, deciduous shade trees, like maple and oak, over driveways, sidewalks, and patios – which absorb and hold heat – will shade your east and west windows, creating a tremendous cooling effect and optimizing shade during the hottest part of a summer day. This can reduce your air conditioning bill up to 35%, especially when a tree is used to shade air conditioning units which in turn decreases carbon dioxide emissions.
For added winter warmth, plant conifers on the north and northwest sides of your property. You don’t want to plant trees on the south side of your home, they will block valuable warm winter sunshine. Planting in the right locations provide windbreak and minimize cold winter winds while wintertime deciduous trees that are bare allow the sun to pour through their leafless branches, warming your home and again saving you money.
Plant fruit trees and bushes for a tasty bonus.
Planting fruit trees and bushes can save you even more money. They provide fresh fruit which can be canned or frozen extending the growing season. And all fruit trees flower, adding exquisite beauty and attracting essential pollinators to your landscape.
So, no, money doesn’t really grow on trees – although many more important things certainly do – but given all the many wonderful things trees do for us, including lowering your energy costs and increasing your property value, they are invaluable to us and more than pay for themselves. In short, having trees on your property is like having perfect tenants who ask for little and pay you abundantly. 2022 marks the 150th anniversary of Arbor Day. What’s a more fitting tribute than to plant a tree.