Green Benefits - Ahh! What’s not to love about trees!

Green Benefits - Ahh!  What’s not to love about trees!
photo credit:
☺ Lee J Haywood via photopin cc

Think about it… we like trees around us because they simply make life more pleasant.  We feel serene, restful, at peace.  The stature, strength and endurance of larger trees give them a cathedral-like quality.  Why else are more and more people selecting trees as living memorials?

Even though trees may be private property, their size makes them part of the community as well.  They provide privacy, and either screen out unpleasant views or emphasize and enhance pleasant views.  Imagine our built up spaces [architecture] without the softening compliment of trees.

But imagining life without trees goes beyond just simply views, emotions and feelings.  We are cooler when we stand in the shade of trees. The larger the tree, the greater the cooling effect.  A single tree may have the power of hundreds of air conditioners to regulate temperature and humidity.  Leaves filter the air we breathe by removing dust and air pollutants, and creating life-giving oxygen.  Birds and wildlife would just simply not exist in urban spaces were it not for trees!

I certainly cannot imagine my city, Winnipeg without its famous urban forest canopy. The existence of this great urban forest was not a natural event. It is a direct result of thoughtful planning and actions taken by residents in the late 1800’s as this city was being born and growing.

Photo Credit: Jan Pedersen's Photography - Winnipeg, Manitoba
Photo Credit:  Jan Pedersen


Here are 18 of the best reasons to plant and care for trees or defend a tree’s standing as offered by treepeople.org:

Trees combat the greenhouse effect

Global warming is the result of excess greenhouse gases, created by burning fossil fuels. Heat from the sun is trapped in this thickening layer of gases, causing global temperatures to rise. Carbon dioxide (CO2) is a major greenhouse gas. Trees absorb CO2, removing and storing the carbon while releasing the oxygen back into the air. In one year, an acre of mature trees absorbs the amount of CO2 produced when you drive your car 26,000 miles.

Trees clean the air

Trees absorb odours and pollutant gases (nitrogen oxides, ammonia, sulfur dioxide and ozone) and filter particulates out of the air by trapping them on their leaves and bark.

Trees provide oxygen

In one year an acre of mature trees can provide enough oxygen for 18 people.

Trees cool the streets and the city

Trees cool the city by up to 5 degrees celsius, by shading our homes and streets, breaking up urban “heat islands” and releasing water vapour into the air through their leaves.

Trees conserve energy

Three trees placed strategically around a single-family home can cut summer air conditioning needs by up to 50 percent. By reducing the energy demand for cooling our houses, we reduce carbon dioxide and other pollution emissions from power plants.

Trees save water

Shade from trees slows water evaporation from thirsty lawns. Most newly planted trees need only fifteen gallons of water a week. As trees transpire, they increase atmospheric moisture.

Trees help prevent water pollution

Trees reduce runoff by breaking rainfall thus allowing the water to flow down the trunk and into the earth below the tree. This prevents storm water from carrying pollutants to the ocean. When mulched, trees act like a sponge that filters this water naturally and uses it to recharge groundwater supplies.

Trees help prevent soil erosion

On hillsides or stream slopes, trees slow runoff and hold soil in place.

Trees shield children from ultra-violet rays

Skin cancer is the most common form of cancer in children. Trees reduce UV-B exposure by about 50 percent, thus providing protection to children on school campuses and playgrounds - where children spend hours outdoors.

Trees provide food

An apple tree can yield up to 15-20 bushels of fruit per year and can be planted on the tiniest urban lot. Aside from fruit for humans, trees provide food for birds and wildlife.

Trees heal

Studies have shown that patients with views of trees out their windows heal faster and with less complications. Children with ADHD show fewer symptoms when they have access to nature. Exposure to trees and nature aids concentration by reducing mental fatigue.

Trees reduce violence

Neighbourhoods and homes that are barren have shown to have a greater incidence of violence in and out of the home than their greener counterparts. Trees and landscaping help to reduce the level of fear.

Trees mark the seasons

Is it winter, spring, summer or fall? Look at the trees.

Trees bring diverse groups of people together

Tree plantings provide an opportunity for community involvement and empowerment that improves the quality of life in our neighbourhoods. All cultures, ages, and genders have an important role to play at a tree planting or tree care event. Trees as landmarks can give a neighbourhood a new identity and encourage civic pride.

Trees provide a canopy and habitat for wildlife

Basswood, maple and oak are among the many urban species that provide excellent urban homes for birds, bees and squirrels.

Trees block things

Trees can mask concrete walls or parking lots, and unsightly views. They muffle sound from nearby streets and freeways, and create an eye-soothing canopy of green. Trees absorb dust and wind and reduce glare.

Trees increase property values

The beauty of a well-planted property and its surrounding street and neighbourhood can raise property values by as much as 15 percent.

Trees increase business traffic

Studies show that the more trees and landscaping a business district has, the more business will flow in. A tree-lined street will also slow traffic.

2 of Jan's Favorite Trees

Dakota Pinnacle® Birch - for its ability to produce white bark at a very young age (compared to native birches). This bark brings excellent colour contrast into the landscape both summer and winter. The fact that the leaves cling all winter is an interesting twist too. It has a ‘classic’ teardrop shape that is really appealing. Straight trunk, neat & tidy & NEVER needs pruning!

True North American Linden – because it produces HUGE almost elephant-ear type leaves that create the most dense shade of any prairie tree. Scented creamy-white flowers that are almost invisible to the eye produce a fragrance in June that will fill a neighbourhood with a pleasing ‘tea-like’ scent even from one tree! The canopy can get so large that that it becomes a songbird haven summer and winter.

Happy Gardening!

For more ideas ask your local garden center professionals and make sure you follow us on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and Pinterest for other help tips and hints.

Jan

Guest post by Jan - Bylands Account Representative

I’m very proud of my 4 children.  All 4 of them, worked many summers in the garden centre, they love plants and gardening too – but opted for totally different careers.  Jan loves living in Winnipeg and adds extensive plant knowledge to our team at Bylands.  You can sometimes find Jan as a guest on ‘The Gardener’, a radio program in Winnipeg on Sundays.