benefits of trees - tree providing cooling shade

We love trees. That’s why we work with them every day. And while there may be circumstances where a tree needs to be removed, our primary goal is to help you keep your trees healthy.

That’s partially because we want others to love trees as much as we do, but also because we know that there are so many benefits that trees provide – some of which are still being discovered.

While you may think you may know all that trees do, some of the below facts will probably surprise you! Read on and see just how much these leafy and steadfast structures do for us …

A Safer, Cleaner Environment

Trees’ effects on the environment are probably what comes to mind first (such as creating oxygen for us to breathe and providing shade), but they do so much more than that.

Trees cool the air

You may know that you can get instant relief from a sweltering sun by ducking under the shady leaves of a deciduous tree, but did you know that trees actually cool the air around them? It’s because of a process called transpiration, where they release water into the air through their leaves. Unlike other types of shade structures, the temperature under and around a tree can be several degrees cooler than the air around it.

Trees remove pollutants, including allergens, from the air

Most people know that trees remove carbon from the air and release oxygen, a vital resource for a world where carbon levels are on the rise. But trees also do a great job of removing other pollutants from the air, mostly through the use of their leaves. For example, harmful dust particles, as well as ozone, carbon monoxide, and sulfur dioxide are filtered out of the air by trees. This may be why researchers have found that people who suffer from asthma (1 in 13 people in the US) have fewer asthma attacks if they live on a tree-lined street.

Trees clean our water

Forests provide natural filtration and storage systems that remove contaminants from nearly two-thirds of the water supply in the United States. In fact, forests do such a good job that local municipalities usually only need to do a minimum of additional filtering.

Tree slow climate change

By “trapping” carbon dioxide, trees slow down the build-up of heat-trapping carbon dioxide in our atmosphere caused by burning fossil fuels. According to NC State University, a single tree can absorb as much as 48 pounds of carbon dioxide per year and can sequester one ton of carbon dioxide within 40 years.

Trees prevent ground erosion and control flooding

Between cushioning rainfall with their leaves and holding the ground together with their roots, trees do a great job of reducing the amount of stormwater runoff. As a result, they help reduce erosion, cut down pollution in our waterways, and control flooding.

Trees provide habitat for wildlife

Many species of wildlife, including birds, mammals, insects and reptiles, use trees for food, shelter, nesting, and mating.

Improved Living Conditions

More privacy

Surrounding your house with trees and shrubs gives you much-needed privacy from nosy neighbors and passers-by.

Reduced noise pollution

Trees cut noise pollution by as much as 40%, even if they’re not planted on your property.

Less crime

Neighborhoods with abundant trees have significantly fewer crimes than those without. And studies have also shown that people drive more slowly on tree-lined streets, making the roadways safer for everyone.

Better business results

People are more likely to visit businesses that have trees planted nearby and tend to return more often. Plus, shoppers spend more money at shops on tree-lined streets.

Everyday objects

Just think about objects you use every day. Coffee filters, olive oil, pencils, hardwood floors, and even car wax all originate from a tree.

Better Health

Whether we realize it or not, trees have a subtle but positive effect on our behaviors, moods and overall health.

Hiking in the woods is healthy, but just being around trees has health benefits too

Thanks to a practice made popular in Japan called forest bathing, we now know that just being in nature can make you healthier. You don’t have to run or hike or do yoga to receive the health benefits either.

Spending time around trees has shown to:

  • reduce blood pressure,
  • lower stress (in fact, just 5 minutes of looking at a picture of a tree-filled setting can bring down stress and lower heart rates),
  • boost immunity,
  • improve cognitive functioning, and
  • increase self-discipline.

Seeing trees improves health outcomes

Seeing trees from your window can improve your health too. In a fascinating study, scientists looked at the hospital records for patients that all had the same procedure. Some of the patients had a hospital room where the window overlooked a grove of trees, while others had a window where the view was another building. Interestingly, those that had the window with a view of the trees requested less pain medication, checked out earlier, and had a shorter recovery time than those who were staring out at a building.

Doctors are prescribing nature instead of pills

The results of various studies are so impressive that doctors in Scotland are prescribing nature to some of their patients. There are also organizations in the U.S. that are attempting to create something similar here. For example, check out ParksRX, a non-profit organization working to lessen the incidence of chronic disease by encouraging doctors to “prescribe” time in a local park to their patients. There aren’t any parks or doctors registered yet in the Winston-Salem, Greensboro, High Point area so maybe it’s time to get it started!

Trees make you feel younger and wealthier

A study published in the journal Nature came to some interesting conclusions about the effects of trees in urban neighborhoods. According to their results, adding 10 trees to an urban street had the same effect on the people living there as earning $10,000 more each year. They also compared it to feeling 7 years younger. Feeling younger and wealthier – from trees! Isn’t that the dream?

More Money In Your Pocket

Money may not grow on trees, but they can put more money in your pocket.

Lower cooling costs in summer

Well-placed trees can reduce your air conditioning costs in summer by blocking sun from windows, exterior walls and roofs on the south and west sides of your home. In fact, households that plant shade trees in the right locations could see their AC units working only half as much as those without shade trees. According to the U.S. Department of Energy, carefully positioned trees can save up to 25% of the energy a typical household uses, depending upon their placement and density. Plus, trees look much nicer than keeping your blinds and curtains closed all summer.

Lower heating costs in winter

Planting a combination of evergreen trees on the north side of your home and shrubs around the foundation of your home will act as a windbreak to keep cold winds away. Plus, deciduous trees (the ones that lower your cooling costs in summer) planted near your house will lose their leaves in winter, allowing the sun to warm your house and reducing your monthly winter heating costs.

Increased property values

People prefer to live and work in areas with trees. That’s clearly seen in the fact that property values are 7 percent to 25 percent higher for houses surrounded by trees. Be careful though – topping your trees (a practice we avoid and do not recommend) will actually lower the property value.

Other financial benefits of trees

The Arbor Day Foundation has a tree benefit calculator on their website that shows you just how much your trees contribute to the bottom line. Just enter your zip code, a type of tree, and the diameter of the tree trunk.

For example, a 10-inch Willow Oak (one of the trees on our recommended list) will provide $68 worth of benefits each year. And if the tree grows to 15 inches in diameter, it will provide $112 in annual benefits!

Trees in the Triad Area

Luckily, we’re not the only people in our community who appreciate all that trees do. Winston-Salem has been a Tree City USA city for several years, and was even recognized as the state’s Tree City USA back in 2017!

Want to spend some time in nature to soak up some of the many benefits trees provide? Here are some great places to try the practice of forest bathing (remember, no soap is required, it just means soaking in the benefits of trees):

  • Wander the trails around Salem Lake
  • Plan a visit to the 129 acres of Reynolda Gardens of Wake Forest University
  • Don’t feel like walking? Take a drive through the tunnel of trees on Conrad Road in Lewisville
  • Bethabara is known as a trip back in time, but the grounds have several miles of diverse nature trails. The grounds, gardens, and trail are open free of charge from dawn to dusk all year.

If you’d like to add more trees to your property to ensure that you’re receiving some of these benefits, check out this list of recommended trees for the Forsyth County area. And if you have any questions, contact us for a consultation – we’ll be able to help you find the perfect tree(s) for your property.

Of course, the older and healthier a tree is, the more benefits it provides. Ensure that your trees remain healthy with regular tree inspections and proper pruning.