They say, “Money doesn’t grow on trees.” But what if I told you, as a homeowner, trees really are putting money in your pocket in lots of different ways? There are many benefits of planting trees on your property. And, there’s no need to break the bank doing it. Trees can be one of the least expensive investments you’ll ever make in your home and yard.
Having a mature tree in your yard is great for summer shade. It offers a place to set a chair and relax on a hot summer day with your favorite novel. But, even better, a strategically placed tree can actually save you money. In the northern hemisphere, a tree planted on the south and southwest side of a home can save a homeowner up to 30% on annual air conditioning needs (USDA) by protecting it from the most intense sun of the day.
In winter, many of the harshest winds come from the north. If you planted one or several trees on the northern face of your house you could expect the same tree to reduce the heating energy needed by 20-50% (USDA) by blocking those severe winter winds.
It may not seem like much, but every little bit of energy savings cuts down your overall utility bill and helps us all do our part to preserve Earth’s natural resources.
Trees can also make you some bonus money! As a homeowner, your property value should always be in the back of your mind. Having a mature tree in your yard can increase the property value by 10-15% (Theriault et al, 2001). A mature tree is usually appraised between $1,000-10,000 (Council of Tree and Landscape Appraisers).
Trees can both save you money and make you a little extra cash with the sale of your house.
But, that’s not all. Let’s look at a few more benefits of planting trees on your property.
6 Benefits of Planting Trees
An ecosystem is a biological community of plants, animals, insects and other organisms that interact with the physical environment, like the landscape and weather. The property where you live is its own mini ecosystem that is also a part of the larger ecosystem of the town or city where you live. Your larger area, or bioregion, connects to other ecosystems and bioregions.
In fact, the entire surface of the Earth is a series of interconnected ecosystems!
And for the Earth to be healthy we need those ecosystems to thrive. If you sometimes feel helpless and hopeless in the face of climate change, one action you can take is to steward and help your local ecosystem flourish. And that can start in your own backyard. Let’s think about the many functions a tree serves in your yard.
- A home for wildlife. A tree can be a home to various birds and curious critters. It can be protection for susceptible squirrels from problematic predators. At the same time, the trees provide a perch for predatory hawks who maintain order over their ecosystem through snacking on the rampant rodents.
- Feeds the soil. Leaf litter left behind by trees in the Fall replenishes the soil with organic matter. This feeds the invisible world of diverse fungi within the soil, which work in concert with tree roots and other shrubs and flowers planted in your yard.
- Water filtration. A tree acts as a natural net for water. It catches water in the canopy and leads it via the trunk to the ground beneath the tree. This allows for the groundwater supply to recharge, and discourages erosion and runoff. In a city like Madison, WI, where our company is located, this is of utmost importance. Madison is perched on a chain of freshwater lakes, so less runoff translates to less sediment and chemicals in our beloved lakes and streams.
- Air to breathe. Trees provide us, and all living organisms, with more oxygen. They take in carbon dioxide and release oxygen for us to breathe. Annually, one acre of mature trees can provide the oxygen necessary for 18 people.
- Absorb carbon dioxide. Humans generate a large amount of carbon dioxide because of the fossil fuels we burn for our cars, homes and industry. Trees take in carbon dioxide through their leaves, so they help reduce the amount of CO2 in the atmosphere. In one year, one acre of mature trees absorbs the amount of carbon dioxide your car emits while driving 26,000 miles. We must be conscious to do our part in reducing carbon dioxide, which in turn reduces global warming.
- Air filtration. Not only does a tree absorb carbon dioxide, but the bark and leaves catch particulate matter in the air. Think of them as natural air filters.
If you ask us, trees make a profound contribution to a healthy ecosystem! It’s no question that a tree benefits all living organisms surrounding it.
How Trees Benefit People
Trees, often inadvertently, bring people together. Think of all the times you’ve chosen a picnic table based on it’s shady location. How often you or your children have enjoyed tire swings, tree climbs, or inspected an interesting leaf or bug. Trees incite curiosity and encourage exploration in your own backyard.
One of our favorite organizations, Arbor Day Foundation, put together a project called “The Great Tree Search” in New York City. New Yorkers were challenged to find trees of unusual shape or size, with historical significance, or interesting species. On Arbor Day they held a party to celebrate the trees of New York City. What an amazing movement to bring people together through trees!
In 2019, our team visited Wisconsin’s largest tree, which is a cottonwood that’s stood for 200-300 years. It’s a nearby neighbor to our beloved Madison, right over in Montello, WI. A website lists historical events that this tree has grown through. The specimen, along with all others, hold a piece of our history. There is no price to put on that.
The benefits of planting trees today include reinvesting in hope for your community, tapping into your curiosity and inner explorer, and enjoying the simpler things in life.
Here at ECO we believe in planting new trees as an investment in the future and maintaining your mature, healthy trees. Both will pay you back through energy savings, increased property value and a thriving and diverse ecosystem. Call ECO, your trusted Madison area tree expert to invite a Certified Arborist out for a free consultation. Start taking advantage of the many benefits of planting trees (and maintaining them!) today.