When do we notice trees? Perhaps during the spring, when the trees show off their colorful blooms. And maybe in the fall, as the leaves change color, drop to the ground, and provide a crunchy backdrop to our walks. Or possibly the only time that they grab our attention is when a limb breaks, or the branches get in our way, or we trip over a root.
Which is sad, really, when you start to learn about all of the things that trees do that help us. There are so many benefits that trees provide, in fact, that we’re still learning about all of the positive impacts they have on our lives. But scientists and arborists have learned a few, and we’ve listed them for you below.
Trees help you breathe
First, some obvious benefits of trees. Trees provide shade, a much needed-respite during the heat of summer. You might also know that they remove carbon dioxide from the air and release oxygen, thereby cleaning the air around them. It’s one of the reasons that trees have often been referred to as “earth’s lungs”.
Studies have also shown that people who suffer from asthma can physically breathe better on tree-lined streets. This probably is linked to the pollutants that the trees remove from the air.
Trees save you money
Did you know that a tree can save you significant amounts on your energy bill each year? Both during the heat of summer and the winds of winter, trees protect from the elements. Speaking of money, a tree (especially a healthy, mature tree) can raise the property value of a home by up to 20%.
According to the National Tree Benefit Calculator on the Arbor Day Foundation website, a Red Maple that has a 12-inch diameter in our area provides $102 in benefits every year. If the tree is healthy and grows to 17 inches, it will provide up to $164 in annual benefits. That’s a great return on investment! Try out the calculator for yourself and find out how much $ your trees are saving you each year.
Trees protect from storms
Maybe you’ve had a tree fall over or break during a storm, so you are hesitant to replace it because you don’t want to deal with any potential damage again. Well, you might be surprised to know that neighborhoods with the most tree cover actually fare the best in storms (including hurricanes!).
Trees reduce stress and increase health
And now, here are some truly fascinating facts about trees. Perhaps you’ve heard of something called tree bathing? It has nothing to do with cleanliness and everything to do with immersing yourself in a tree-filled environment. Studies have shown that just being in nature reduces stress.
Getting even more interesting, there was a study on hospital patients that were recovering from surgery. Those who had rooms with windows facing trees were not only discharged earlier, but they used less pain medication and had a shorter recovery period.
Places in the area where you can wander through trees include:
• The Mount Vernon Trail
• The University of Virginia Arboretum
• Meadlowlark Botanical Gardens
• Edith J. Carrier Arboretum
• Taking a scenic drive on the George Washington Memorial Parkway
• Visiting a nearby NOVA Park
Trees increase sales and decrease crime
Companies are always trying to figure out consumer behaviors, and it turns out that trees influence that too. People spend more money at shops on tree-lined streets. They also drive better and commit fewer small crimes and acts of vandalism when in locations filled with trees.
Trees provide products that we use daily
Finally, think of all the products you use that come from trees. Any wood furniture or hardwood floors in your house? Do you enjoy coffee? Guess where coffee beans come from. Wine corks? From a cork tree. Chocolate, olive oil, and pencils are all made from parts of trees.
The older a tree, the more benefits it provides
The more mature a tree becomes, the more value (in terms of both finances and direct benefits to you) it has, which is why at Green Vista, we are committed to helping you keep and maintain your trees whenever possible.
Virginia and the D.C. area have some of the largest trees in the country (and the world), and you can learn all about them at the Trees Virginia website, in the book Remarkable Trees of Virginia (check it out from your library if you get a chance!), and by viewing the list of Virginia National Champions.
In need of tree care services?
Give us a call at 571-244-3838 or request a quote online!