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Trees add value to our environment and our bank accounts

By Robert Hof

Trees don’t ask for much—dirt, water, sunlight. Yet they provide a wealth of benefits: They improve the air you breathe, cut your energy bills with their shade, provide a home to wildlife, and add beauty and value to your home.

tree

But every year, millions of acres of forest are cut down. Several million more acres are lost to fire, storm, and disease. That’s why planting new trees and protecting the ones we have is so important. You can do your part by

  • Caring for the trees in your yard
  • Supporting tree-planting activities in your community

Why should you care about trees? They can save you money!

The most tangible bang from your bark comes from energy savings. Properly placed trees could save you dollars a year in energy costs. Trees save energy in two main ways. Their shade cuts cooling costs in the summer. In winter, they serve as windbreak and help hold down heating costs.

But money saved is peanuts compared with the role trees play as the lungs of the planet. An American report estimated that one mature tree takes 48 pounds of carbon out of the atmosphere each year and returns enough oxygen for two human beings.

Plant your tree in the right spot

To get the full benefits from your trees, choose the right one and put it in the right location. Planting a deciduous tree on the west side of a house provides cooling shade in the summer. In winter, after it loses its leaves, the same tree lets in sunlight that cuts heating and lighting bills. On the other hand, an evergreen on the west side blocks sun all year long, making a home colder and darker in winter. Rather plant evergreens, a great choice for blocking icy winter winds, on the north side of your home.

If you’re planting a new tree, think about its fully grown size and shape before you dig. Branches from a tree located below power lines can cause outages as it grows. Roots from a tree located too close to a home can damage the foundation or block sewer lines.

Ensuring that your yard has lots of healthy trees doesn’t have to be more complicated than a trip to the nursery and a hole in your yard. Dig it twice as wide as deep. Let kids push in the dirt and help water weekly until the tree is two years old. Your local nursery will tell you how to select the right tree for your needs and climate, where to plant it, and how to maintain it.

You don’t have to hug your tree but given what that tree will do for you, it’s not a bad idea!

For lots more information, see the Ryerson University study that has just been issued.

http://www.ryerson.ca/news/media/General_Public/20130529_RN_treeplanting.html

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