With Thanksgiving less than a week away, it’s time to start pondering what you’re thankful for this year. Friends, family, job opportunities often make the list but we’d like to suggest adding a less common but very important item to your list this year, trees. Most homeowners have probably never thought about being thankful for their trees but these silent, beautiful plants provide a lot of services and benefits to us. Below are just a few reasons to thank your trees this Thanksgiving.
1. Trees Increase Property Values
Real estate agents have known for a long time that properties with trees sell better than properties without any trees. Recently, research has confirmed this. Numerous studies of real estate and trees show that well-landscaped yards with mature trees and bushes not only fetch higher prices but they sell quicker than houses without trees and shrubs. On average landscaping, especially with mature trees, can increase property values as much as 20%. Even more importantly, Clemson University study found that homeowners get a 100% or more return on their landscape investments. For example, one 25 inch diameter Red Maple can increase your property value by $126.92 annually.
2. Trees Keep Us Healthy
According to studies as far back as the 1980’s viewing trees and interacting with nature boosts health and happiness. A 1984 study showed patients recovering from surgery in a room with a view of trees recovered quicker and required less pain medication than those without the view. Recent studies have even suggested a connection between trees and lower obesity, general health, immunity, morbidity, and mortality. And according to the US Forest Service, trees save 850 human lives and prevent 670,000 cases of acute respiratory symptoms each year as well. Because of these health benefits, trees save $6.8 billion in US Health Care Costs annually. Maybe consider a walk outdoors after thanksgiving dinner this year; it might be just what the doctor ordered.
3. Trees Help The Environment: They Clean The Air & Improve The Soil & Support Wildlife
This one may seem obvious to most, but it’s interesting to realizing just how much trees benefit our air quality. Common knowledge is that trees absorb carbon dioxide, sulfur dioxide, and carbon monoxide while releasing oxygen into the air. What most don’t know is that one large tree can supply a day’s supply of oxygen for four people as well as storing 13 pounds of carbon each year. But trees don’t stop there; they also help trap up to 75% of dust, ash, pollen, and smoke from the air.
Trees also greatly improve soil conditions. They not only slow down soil erosion but filter sewage, clean roadside spills, filter water runoff, and reduce the effects of animal waste. This helps improve our drinking water, aquatic life, and the health of landscapes.
They also help support local ecosystems. Birds and wildlife have come to depend on trees and shrubs for food and shelter. When there aren’t enough trees around, wildlife like birds, bees, and butterflies have trouble supporting themselves and their populations decline.
4. Trees Reduce Violence
According to the University of Washington, among minor crimes, there is less graffiti, vandalism, and littering in outdoor spaces with natural landscapes than in comparable plant-less spaces. Public housing buildings with greater amounts of vegetation have 52% fewer total crimes, 48% fewer property crimes, and 56% fewer violent crimes, including 25% fewer acts of domestic aggression and violence.
5. Trees Block Out Noise
Most people don’t think of trees as a way of mitigating sound but a well-placed tree can block out noise as much as 40 percent. This benefit of trees can be seen along highways where the trees help block car noises from reaching local neighborhoods. And within neighborhoods trees can help muffle the sounds of your noisy neighbors. If you live near a main road but don’t hear much traffic, you can thank trees for that.
6. Trees Lower Energy Bills, Saving You Money.
Trees are great at shading the sun in the summer and letting the sun through in the winter which can help your electricity and gas bills. By keeping your house cool in the summer and warm in the winter, trees can reduce your energy costs by 30%. If you want to optimize the amount of money you save on your energy bills try creating Windbreaks. Windbreaks are strategically placed conifer trees that create a wall against cold winter winds. By placing them on the north and northwest sides of your property you can save up to 30% on your heating costs. To further save, plant large deciduous trees on the east, west, and northwest sides of your home. This will create shade from the hot summer sun and reduce air conditioning costs by up to 35%. Want to know exactly how much money your tree saves you? Find out your tree’s species & diameter at breast height and then head over to http://www.treebenefits.com/calculator/.
7. Trees Bring Families and Communities Together.
Trees lined streets are more likely to be jogged and walked on. And the shade of trees allows children and adults to have a cool place to play, relax, and mingle with their neighbors, thus developing neighborhoods into communities. Trees also bring families closer together. Researchers at the University of Illinois found that families living in areas surrounded by trees have fewer feelings of aggression towards family members and tend to feel more satisfied.
These are just a few reasons to thank your trees this Thanksgiving. Is your favorite reason not listed here? Comment below with why you’re thankful for trees this year!