Home & Garden

18 Reasons to Plant Trees in Your Yard

18 Reasons to Plant Trees in Your Yard

Trees provide services critical to our lives and life style. At first the big picture seems too extensive to have applicability to planting a tree in the yard around a home, but think again.

Here are 18 good reasons to plant a tree in your yard.

The Yard

1. Trees can reduce the air temperature by blocking sunlight. Deciduous trees block sunlight in the summer. Further cooling occurs when water evaporates from the surface of leaves. The conversion of water to air vapor removes heat energy from the air.

2. Trees can be used to shade asphalt, cement and other hard surface areas such as driveways, patios, buildings and sidewalks where there is a buildup of heat during the day. At night that heat is radiated back into the air which results in warmer air temperatures. The shade from trees decreases ambient day and nighttime heat.

3. Trees provide shade which improves the efficiency of your heat pump.

4. Deciduous trees planted on the south and west sides of your home shade the south and west sides of your house. In winter they allow the sunlight to pass through their leafless branches and warm your home.

5. Evergreen trees can be used to reduce wind speed and thus loss of heat from your home in winter from 10 – 50%. Evergreen trees on the north side of your home and shrubs around the foundation of your home act as a windbreak which reduces the cooling effects of winter winds.

6. In cold winter months evergreen trees act as windbreak and trap heat, creating a milder microclimate.

7. Trees clean the air. They improve our air quality by filtering harmful dust and pollutants from the air we breathe. They help settle out and trap dust, pollen and smoke from the air. On the sheltered side of a tree the dust level in the air can be as much as 75% lower than on the windward side.

8. Trees absorb and reduce noise. A strategically sited tree or stand of trees can reduce noise by as much as 40%.

9. Trees reduce the amount of storm water runoff by breaking the rain. That slows runoff so the water can absorb it into the ground and increase ground water recharge.

10. Tree roots absorb water which helps to prevent flooding.

11. Tree roots prevent erosion by holding soil in place.

12. Trees screen unattractive views

13. Trees increase property values. A well landscaped home with mature healthy trees can sell for as much as 10% higher than a similar non-landscaped home. Landscaped homes in general sell for 5 – 15% higher than those without landscaping; and homes with trees resell more quickly than homes without trees. (Note: Topping a tree reduces its value.)

14. Trees are the least expensive plants you can add to your landscape when you consider their impact and size.

Our Environment

15. Many species of wildlife depend on trees for habitat. Trees provide food, shelter and nesting places birds and animals.

16. Trees reduce carbon dioxide, a major greenhouse gas. Just as humans breathe in oxygen and exhale carbon dioxide, trees take in carbon dioxide and release oxygen. A mature tree sequesters up to 48 pounds of carbon in a year, and releases enough oxygen to support two people for a year. We don’t have enough trees to offset global warming. However, by reducing carbon dioxide, dust and potentially harm gasses in the air we improve our air quality.

Communal Benefits--neighbors benefit from each other’s trees.

16. Trees separate and define space which brings about a sense of privacy, security and wellbeing within a neighborhood.

17. Trees are integral to creating a lasting impression of how visitors view a community. They help to set a neighborhood’s mood and character and reflect its pride.

18. Trees are a living legacy for the next generation.

Whether we plant a tree in memory of a loved one, to improve the visual aspect of your landscape or to contribute to our shared environment, trees improve our present and link us to upcoming generations. These are all good reasons to plant trees in our yards.

Reach Debbie Menchek, a Clemson Master Gardener, at dmgha3@aol.com.

A duplicate copy of The Gardening Column was inadvertantly printed in the Aug. 24 issue of Neighbors in The Sun News. This week includes the column intended for Aug. 24 and the regular Aug. 31 column.