When it comes to landscaping, many people tend to overlook the value of adding trees to the landscape. If you’re looking to take on a beautification project, you shouldn’t ignore larger trees by focusing only on the smaller plants and shrubs. You should first consider the value of all trees in a yard, as they bring many benefits with them.
Aside from looking pretty and adding to curb appeal, the addition of trees to your yard can increase property value. According to the USDA Forestry Service, trees can increase property value by approximately 10 percent. A US Tax Court case notes the loss of $15,000 in property value following the loss of a large tree. Even better, trees also happen to be one of the few items that appreciate in value as it matures. The larger a tree, the more beneficial it is in reducing noise pollution. Homes near busy roads comparatively have a lesser value between 6 and 16 percent, depending on the degree of traffic nearby. The effects of noise pollution on property value can be compensated with an adequate number of trees.
Shade trees can lead to a decrease in energy costs, especially in the summer. A study in Sacramento, CA was led by Dr. Geoffrey Donovan, Forestry Service Researcher, and Dr. David Butry, National Institute of Standards & Technology Economist. The results of the study were able to determine the best practices for maximizing the benefits of a shade tree. Proper placement is vital to achieving the desired results.
When considering tree placement for your own landscape, you should consider the following study highlights as noted by Live Science:
Trees planted within 40 feet of the south side or within 60 feet of the west side of the house will generate about the same amount of energy savings. This is because of the way shadows fall at different times of the day. Tree cover on the east side of a house has no effect on electricity use. A tree planted on the west side of a house can reduce net carbon emissions from summertime electricity use by 30 percent over a 100-year period.
Not only are you improving your property value with the addition of trees, but you are also improving the environmental quality of your community. A study on Fudulac, WI street trees, conducted by iTree, highlights the annual benefits for the community. Such benefits include, a reduction in storm-water run-off; a reduction in summer air temperatures; reduction in atmospheric carbon dioxide levels; and providing habitats for wildlife. It is important to note again that the benefits increase as a tree matures, which is why proper care and maintenance is vital.
How Can YOU measure the benefits?
The National Tree Benefit Calculator is a website, similar to iTree, which allows individuals to calculate the benefits of individual trees within your area. I highly recommend this site if you are looking to get the best return on your investment and/or make an Eco-conscious decision. The user is able to select their region, the tree species, the estimated diameter of the tree, and the property type to calculate the benefits. A 20″ Catalpa tree on a single-family residential lot saves approximately $164 annually. The results show a summary of savings derived from the areas of storm-water run-off; energy; air quality; carbon dioxide reductions; and property value.
If you are feeling indecisive about what kind of trees you would like to include in your landscaping, discuss your options with a landscape designer and submit a few queries to the National Tree Benefit Calculator. Discussing the features of your property with a landscape designer can help you to better determine the needs of your property and maximize the benefits of your tree selection. In addition to the benefits listed above, USDA Forestry Research has also found that trees have a positive influence on mood; concentration; health; the perception of safety; and social ties within a community.
A summary of the study can be found in the brochure Trees Pay Us Back. So, whether you are planning for your next yard or evaluating your current landscape, be sure to consider the holistic value of the benefits outlined in this in this article. Adding a couple more trees to your yard is certain to have a positive impact to your life and your community.