The last Friday of April is Arbor Day. This special designation is a reminder to all of us of the value of trees. While most people know trees provide oxygen, shade, wood products and paper, what most people don’t realize is that the tree at your curb has actual economical and environmental benefit.
There is a website to calculate the economical benefit of the trees in your own yard, but for now, consider the value of an Ash tree. A fourteen-inch diameter tree growing along the street in front of your house is worth $133 a year according to www.treebenefits.com. It raises the property value as it increases curb appeal for resale value. It may also be reducing the cooling costs when it shades your home and reduce heating costs when it slows wind.
A tree helps prevent soil erosion and assist with stormwater runoff. This means that rain is absorbed by leaves, and slowed by limbs and the trunk itself. The roots drink both water and pollution, some are even used to clean up contaminated soil, but most just help reduce the road runoff pollution.
A tree improves our air quality by absorbing pollutants like ozone, nitrogen dioxide and sulfur dioxide. Then intercepting particulate matter like dust, ash and smoke. Walking in the forest you can feel the way they lower temperatures, which helps reduce ground-level ozone.
As for CO2, which hits the news frequently because of the high levels of it in our environment, trees actually absorb it throughout their life. They sequester ("lock up") CO2 in their roots, trunks, stems and leaves even after they are cut down, releasing it when burned.
So celebrate Arbor Day, eat an apple, recycle some paper and plant a new tree. It’s a great way to increase your property value and reduce your heating and cooling costs. Sometimes, it’s also just beautiful to enjoy!