News and Blog Articles
News and Blog Articles
Though sometimes our job at Classic City Arborists is to cut trees down, we do our best to keep as many trees standing as we can—and not just because they’re pretty. Trees are vital to our planet, atmosphere, and ecosystem, which we’re sure you already know. But these gentle giants do more than just produce the oxygen we breathe (although that in and of itself is no small task!). There are dozens of other reasons why trees are important, and why you should always want them around!
Trees Clean the Air
While you probably already know that trees absorb CO2 (carbon dioxide, which is what we exhale) and turn it into O2 (oxygen, that we breathe), you might not know that trees also filter out lots of different pollutants from our air. Odors, gases, and even airborne chemicals get trapped on a tree’s leaves and bark, leaving the air around trees much cleaner.
Trees Reduce Water Pollution
When it rains, water runs down the sides of the street and through various ditches and drains until it reaches the nearest creek, river, or lake. Eventually, that water will either make its way to the ocean, or to the groundwater supply. This wouldn’t be a problem, except this water will encounter oil build-up on
the road and pesticides from the grass and even soap from when you washed your car. All those pollutants are then carried to the rivers, oceans, and groundwater supplies, which is bad for those ecosystems.
But how do trees make this better? Well, any rain that encounters a tree will run down the leaves, branches, and trunk directly to the ground, where it absorbs directly into the groundwater without running across parking lots or crop fields. Even tree mulch that you have spread around your yard can help reduce runoff pollution, by soaking up rainwater and slowly releasing it directly into the ground.
Trees Save Water
Shade from tall trees protect moisture on the ground from the evaporating power of the sun. When you water your lawn, the nearby trees help ensure the sun doesn’t render all that work for naught.
Trees Prevent Soil Erosion
If you remember from 6th grade science class, erosion is when wind and rain displace topsoil, which can drastically affect the shape and ecosystem of any landscape. A tree’s elaborate root system acts as a kind of anchor for soil, reducing what can be washed away in a storm.
Trees Offer Shade
Whether you’re walking on the sidewalk in the park or enjoying an iced tea on your back porch, having trees around to shade you from the hot sun is always nice. Shade is also important for children playing outside, because it not only helps prevent energetic toddlers from overheating, but it also helps filter out harmful UV rays that could burn their skin. Shade is also a good thing to have if you have pets that you let spend time outside, so they don’t get too hot and have a nice, cool place to relax.
Trees Cool Down the Streets
Everyone loves enjoying a warm Summer day sitting under the shade of a tall tree—but only if it’s not too hot. With a moderate scattering of trees, any given area (like your home, your backyard, or downtown Athens) experiences a temperature reduction of up to 10 full degrees! That’s the difference between it feeling like the 80s F and feeling like the 70s F, which, as all Georgians know, is a drastic improvement.
Trees Save Energy – and Money on Your Power Bill
With all that shade and helping lower the temperature around you, trees help keep your home cooler. A cooler home doesn’t need to run the AC as much. In fact, just three strategically-placed trees around your home could cut up to 50% off your monthly power bill.
Trees Provide Wood
The house you live in, the office you work at, and the movie theater you visit on the weekends were all probably constructed with at least some wood, courtesy of our friends the trees. Your dining table, favorite rocking chair, and dresser might also be made out of wood. Take a second to peruse your home, and you’re likely to see the influence of trees everywhere you look!
Trees Provide Food
Fruit trees are a great source of nutrition, not only for the animals in the area, but for us as well. A single apple tree can grow between 15 and 20 bushels of apples in a year, which is more than enough to supply your family with applesauce, apple cobbler, and apple butter for the winter. Fruit trees don’t have to take up much room, meaning you can keep them even in a crowded neighborhood.
Trees Create Jobs
When you sift through the pears at the grocery store, looking for one with the right level of ripeness, you might not really think about the fact that they grew on a tree—but they did, and someone had to pick them from that tree. Someone else had to wash them, and package them, and deliver them to your grocery store, where someone had to unload them from the truck and display them for you to look at. Even trees that don’t offer food still make jobs, like the trees grown for paper or lumber. Even Christmas trees create jobs every year!
Trees Generate More Business
Studies have shown that areas with multiple businesses will see higher traffic rates with more trees and landscaping. Tree-lined streets and sidewalks also actually slow down both drivers and walkers, which gives them more time to look at store fronts and any marketing material, which in turn increases the rate at which passersby visit businesses on a whim.
Trees Increase Property Value
You’ve probably never really thought about it, but having trees on your property actually makes it worth more. Statistically speaking, well-planted properties can be worth up to 15% more than barren ones. Interested buyers are generally more drawn to homes with mature trees and a variety of flora than they are homes surrounded by empty land.
Trees Act as Barriers
Trees are valuable as both visual and auditory barriers in a variety of situations. Cities will often plant rows of trees to obscure unsightly concrete walls, or line them up between a neighborhood and nearby highway to help reduce the sounds of cars on the road for families. Most parking lots are also broken up with trees, which can help mark the lanes and flow of traffic.
Tree barriers are also used to block air currents and reduce wind intensity across open fields or in and around neighborhoods. They’re sometimes even planted to reduce glare from glass structures. You can enjoy privacy in your backyard by planting a row of trees on your property line, which will block anyone from looking or listening in to your serene oasis.
Trees Reduce Violence
On a similar note, crime rates show that neighborhoods with more trees and green landscaping are less likely to experience both violent and non-violent crimes than their more barren counterparts.
Trees Are Playgrounds for Children
To a child, a tree can be almost anything. A sentry guarding the magic castle, or a tower concealing a sleeping princess. A wild jungle with new species to discover, or a private escape to take a quick nap under. Trees have fostered creativity in humans for ages, and help improve a child’s creativity, logic skills, problem-solving, and critical thinking, all of which are vital to their development.
Trees Are Green
Okay, no, not all trees are green, and most trees aren’t green all the time, but the point stands: trees are plants. Studies have shown that humans, as a species and on some primal level, actually need exposure to plants—especially green plants. There are a wide range of theories on why this is the case, ranging from ancestral precedent to divine intention, but the fact remains that trees are really important to a person’s mental and physical wellbeing.
Trees Can Heal
Again, we aren’t exactly sure why this is, but studies have also shown that patients in hospitals or long-term care facilities who can view trees from their windows or have plants in their rooms will heal faster with less complications than a patient who doesn’t have such access. Children with ADHD, autism, and other cognitive or developmental impairments have also proven to experience less symptoms when given frequent access to nature.
Trees Make You Smarter
Perhaps for the same reason that access to trees improves mental health, studies have shown that schools with trees visible through classroom windows have, on average, higher test scores and graduation rates. Office workers also show more productivity and enjoyment of their work life when trees are visible through office windows.
Trees Foster Community
Whether it’s a local organization coming together to plant a new tree, or a local landmark like the Tree that Owns Itself, trees have been bringing people of all ages, sizes, origins, and colors together for thousands of years.
Trees are so incredibly important for every part of our lives, from fostering creativity in children to encouraging productivity in adults at work to helping our sick and injured to recover. If we’ve convinced you to add some new tree friends to your property, be sure to check out our Tree of the Month articles to learn all about some great species to consider!
Emily Casuccio is sister and sister-in-law to Rebekah and Scott Rushing, and has over half a decade of experience in copywriting, copyediting, proofreading, and developmental storyboarding. She's worked with both published and undiscovered authors on both fiction and nonfiction, and takes pride in supporting local businesses. Her passion lies in the written word and helping authors of all capacities realize their dreams and achieve their fullest potential. To learn more about her, read samples of her work, or contact her, visit her online portfolio.