Barking up the right tree - Why it’s smart to add trees to your landscape plan
"The best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago. The second best time is now."
-- Chinese Proverb
Trees are the silent observers of time. Some of the biggest oaks and maples that dot the southwest Michigan landscape started as saplings around the time our corner of Michigan was settled. These giants have stood through sunny days, blizzards, and droughts. They’ve endured through economic prosperity, recessions, and wartime. They’ve seen fashion trends and social fads come and go. And all the while, they quietly play their very important role in helping to sustain life.
The guardians of our environment
The critical role these amazing plants play in supporting balance on our planet cannot be overstated. Think about this…
One acre of forest absorbs six tons of carbon dioxide. In one year, that is equal to the amount of CO2 produced by driving a car 26,000 miles.
That same acre creates four tons of oxygen. To put that into perspective, one large tree can provide a supply of oxygen for two people.
Birds and wildlife depend on the critical habitats created by trees.
Trees are an important food source: spring blossoms support bee populations, and the resulting nuts, berries, and fruit are part of the diet for everything from squirrels to deer to you and me!
Our water quality benefits from trees. They help reduce storm water runoff that discharges pollutants into our streams, rivers, and lakes.
Trees help reduce erosion. In fact, establishing trees on the Lake Michigan shoreline is one method property owners use to slow bluff erosion.
Studies show that when we surround ourselves with trees – whether it is through a walk in the woods or simply looking a green, natural setting in our backyard – stress levels decrease, as indicated by lowered blood pressure and muscle tension.
Adding trees to your landscape plan is an important way to lend a hand in improving our environment. It begins with selecting varieties that thrive in our climate and that help create biodiversity. The next step is optimal placement for the health of the tree.
Once trees are planted, understanding and implementing the proper watering and feeding schedule to nurture young trees is important until they become established, and as they develop into maturity. All of this is something our team at Creative Landscaping can assist you with.
Trees make dollars and cents
While each of the environmental and personal health benefits stated are reason enough to include trees in your landscape plan, what you may not realize is the two-fold personal economic benefit: increased property value and decreased energy bills.
Healthy, mature trees can increase the appraised value of your home. The USDA Forest Service has stated they can add an average of 10% to a home’s value. But the value-added benefits don’t end there.
Well-placed, well-cared for tress significantly add to the curb appeal of your house. Even the smallest of homes have a cozy, welcoming look when surrounded by the luxurious green foliage of trees. In a survey of realtors, 83% felt established trees have a strong or moderate impact on how salable moderately priced homes are. For homes over $250,000, that number increased to 98%. Trees not only soften the views around a house, but create a sense of permanence and stability. This can help you sell your home faster when the time comes.
The monetary payoff, though, isn’t just something waiting for you in the future. There are financial benefits you can reap during the years you live in your home.
Trees create impressive energy savings. According to Dr. E. Greg McPherson, Center for Urban Forest Research, simply planting a tree on the west side of your home can decrease your energy bills by 3% in five year, and by as much as 12% in 15 years. The USDA Forest Service states that proper placement of trees around a building can reduce air conditioning needs by 30%.
When you realize that not only are your saving money each and every month, but that you are also reducing your carbon footprint while making your home more comfortable, planting trees makes all the sense in the world.
Contact us today so our design team can work with you to find the best location to add trees into your landscape plan, and suggest the best shade tree varieties to include. Because short of having planted a tree 20 years, the best time to plant one is today.
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