Plant a Tree, Love the Benefits
For the second installment of what I like to call, “Spring - If you think it, it will come”, I’ll be discussing the benefits of planting trees on your property. You’ve come to this blog to improve your home and, while it may be the often-forgotten stepchild of home renovations, your exterior merits at least some of the attention your interior receives. Different from part one where we discussed gardening, the decision to plant a tree is a larger investment but in turn requires less maintenance while providing you benefits for the lifetime of the tree.

The advantages of having trees in your community are endless. A tree reduces how much and how quickly rainwater drains off your property, reducing the impact of a heavy storm on your municipality’s sewage system. Trees absorb pollutants from the air and release oxygen, a benefit that has been proven to help reduce asthma. Studies have shown that a tree-lined street, compared to a barren street, will reduce how fast motorists drive. And within 5 minutes of walking into a forested area, a reduction in stress level, blood pressure and muscle tension can be measured. If you’re like me, you’re thinking right now that trees don’t desire half the praise they’re due.


And while these benefits may be awe-inspiring (and no, I don’t feel I’m exaggerating with that term), your decision to bring a tree onto your property will likely come down to money. Fortunately, planting trees comes with a slew of monetary benefits as well:  

•    A tree covering asphalt will substantially increase the life of the asphalt and reduce the heat reflection from the sun.  
•    A tree shading your air conditioner will reduce your energy costs as much as 35%.  
•    Deciduous trees (those that lose leaves in the winter) will provide shade in the summer - cooling your home and further reducing the amount of time your air conditioner will have to run.  
•    In the winter, the sun will shine through the branches of deciduous trees, naturally warming and providing light to your home, reducing the cost of artificial heating and lighting.  
•    Evergreens can be planted to block cold winter winds from hitting your home directly. Hard hitting winds can penetrate any cracks on outside walls and push cold air in, increasing your heating costs.  
•    When it comes time to sell, a mature tree can add as much as $7,000 to the value of your property and provide some much needed curb appeal.  

To analyze the exact monetary benefits of your existing or potential tree, click here.

As I said at the beginning, a tree is an investment. No matter how much money a tree will save you, there is an upfront cost. Fortunately, the benefits of trees are so recognized that programs exist to help buffer the cost of a tree.  You can contact your state department to see if rebates or grants are available. Grants are also available through the EPA or ACTrees. Local rebates are available as well, for example, through this organization. Remember to do your research on rebates and grants before getting the tree, as there are often specifications and types of trees you must plant to be eligible.

For help selecting the type of tree to plant, click here. And with that, I’ll leave you with two final green tree tips. Plant native so the tree will thrive in your planting zone. And finally, if planting more than one tree, plant diversely. If a plant disease comes to your region, having only one type of tree means they would all be in jeopardy of getting infected.

[The diagrams above provide an idea of where to plant trees to maximize their money saving benefits]

Filed under: Sustainability
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