What could be more obvious than the fact that horticulture benefits people? Anyone making a living in the trades understands it instinctively.
Below are some quick facts on the benefits of trees and the equity value of landscaping.
Trees improve health
- Trees improve moods and emotions, and they create feelings of relaxation and well-being.
- Trees provide privacy and a sense of security.
- Foliage helps to settle out, trap and hold particulate pollutants (dust, ash, pollen and smoke) that can damage human lungs.
- Because of their potential for long life, trees frequently are planted as living memorials. We often become personally attached to trees that we or those we love have planted.
- In cities, trees can act as buffers, absorbing a significant amount of urban noise.
- Provide us with colours, flowers, and beautiful shapes, forms and textures.
- Trees add interest by changing with the seasons.
- Trees and associated plants create habitat and food for birds and animals.
- Trees absorb carbon dioxide and other dangerous gases and, in turn, replenish the atmosphere with oxygen.
- An acre of trees produces enough breathing oxygen for 18 people every day.
- An acre of trees absorbs enough carbon monoxide over a year's time, to equal the amount you produce when you drive your car 26,000 miles.
- A single mature tree can absorb 48 pounds of carbon dioxide per year, and release enough oxygen back into the atmosphere to support two human beings.
- Over 50 years, a tree generates $31,250 worth of oxygen, provides $62,000 worth of air pollution control, recycles $37,500 worth of water, and controls $31,250 worth of soil erosion.
- City streets lined with trees show a 60 per cent reduction in street-level particulate readings.
- One 12-inch sugar maple along a roadway removes 60 mg of cadmium, 140 mg of chromium, 820 mg of nickel and 5,200 mg of lead from the environment each growing season.
- Trees reduce surface runoff from storm water, and prevent soil erosion and sedimentation of streams.
- Trees increase ground water recharge to help make up for losses in paved areas.
- Trees prevent wind from eroding soil.
- Deciduous trees provide shade and block heat from the sun during hotter months. By dropping their leaves in the fall they admit sunlight in the winter.
- Shade from trees over hard surfaces such as driveways, patios and sidewalks minimizes landscape heat load.
- Shade trees can reduce air conditioning costs up to 30 per cent.
- Evergreens planted on the north sides of buildings can intercept and slow winter winds.
- Trees enhance community economic stability by attracting businesses and tourists.
- Healthy trees can add up to 20 per cent to residential property values.
South Carolina Forestry Commission, www.state.sc.us/forest/urbben.htm
Colorado Tree Coalition, www.coloradotrees.org/benefits.htm#Large_tree
International Society of Aboriculture, www.treesaregood.com/treecare/tree_benefits.aspx
Shannon Lindensmith, Georgina Garden Centre, Georgina, Ont.