Trees Have the Lot!
I will admit that I am totally biased but I love trees and am passionate about the need to plant more trees in our gardens and suburbs. Many people are not aware of the value of trees, and the health and wellbeing improvements they contribute to our lives. Domestic and street trees have a number of really important benefits – these can be roughly grouped into the following categories – health, aesthetic, environmental and economic. Here are some of the benefits.
Trees improve mental health and our sense of well being.
An Australian study by Beyond Blue titled ‘Beyond Blue to Green’ showed clear associations between close proximity to green space and reduced depression, anxiety and other health problems. Dr Mardie Townsend from Deakin University contributed to the report and said: “People living in Adelaide who perceived their neighbourhoods as ‘very green’ were shown to have up to 1.6 times greater odds of physical and mental health, when compared to those who perceive their neighbourhoods as ‘less green’.” Trees are one of the most obvious aspects of these green spaces.
Residents in neighbourhoods with excellent parks are shown to be healthier and need less medical treatment and healthcare.
Trees improve our quality of life by improving our visual environment.
- Trees provide colour, seasonal interest and natural beauty through foliage and their interesting leaf patterns, flowers, bark, fruit and canopy.
- Trees diminish traffic noise, screen unwanted views, provide privacy and reduce glare
- Trees create habitat for native fauna.
- Well positioned trees provide valuable heat reduction, shading windows and walls, and reducing the need for air conditioning. A well treed neighbourhood can negate the heat island effect of hard surfaces which increases temperatures by 3-7 degrees which will also reduce energy bills for households by 15-35 %.
- Trees can reduce the speed, strength and severity of winds, creating sheltered micro climates.
- Trees improve our air quality by removing carbon dioxide and returning oxygen to the atmosphere. Carbon dioxide which is responsible for about half the Greenhouse Gasses that lead to global warming This is done through photosynthesis, with the tree removing carbon and storing it in their leaves, trunks and roots. In this way, trees sequester carbon.
- Trees reduce air pollution and dust of our streets, by entrapping airborne particles and pollutants, such as sulphur dioxide, ozone and carbon monoxide. They also trap toxic particles that are mostly emitted by diesel exhausts. Trees improve our water quality by slowing down the storm water run off and filtering out many toxins that would otherwise be present in this run off.
- Appropriate shade trees make our gardens more waterwise, making them cooler, reducing evaporation and subsequently the water requirements of the plants within them. Another way of achieving shade in the garden is by constructing features such as pergolas, arches and tunnels, and choosing climbing plants to grow over them.
- Trees enhance property values as they establish and mature. Overseas studies have shown that mature trees add between 10 to 20% to the value of your property.
Suburbs that have lots of healthy trees are more attractive and in many cases more desirable, with this being reflected in housing prices.
- The cooling effect of trees on a house can also reduce energy bills by 15-35%.
Don’t forget the wonderful Chinese proverb which says that “The best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago. The next best time is today.”
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