What’s a tree worth? A lot more than you might think! Trees are often taken for granted but they have both monetary and non-monetary value and their importance to our environment and to landscaping should not be underestimated. According to “Growing Greener Cities” which is a book that was published by the American Forestry Association back in the early 1990’s, on an annual basis a single tree provides $73 worth of air conditioning savings, $75 worth of erosion control, $75 worth of wildlife shelter and $50 worth of air pollution reduction . Over the course of a 50 year life span this one tree can produce nearly $60,000 in benefits and mind you, this data is at least 20 years old! The key isn’t in necessarily the annual benefits but the compounding of these benefits over a lifetime forget the fact that trees just add something special to a landscape design!

It may be surprising to you but there are actually certified arborists who are trained in appraising the value of a tree. Many homeowners would be ecstatic to find out that a mature tree could add up to $10,000 to the value of their home and the financial lender Arbor National Mortgage found in a study that 83% of realtors believe mature trees have a moderate to strong impact on the salability of a home. This percentage actually increases to 98% for homes in excess of $250,000. Now that is a reason for all homeowners to become “tree huggers”!

These are just some of the more obvious benefits of trees to our lives but trees do even more to help us and our communities. According to Treepeople.org studies show that patients with views of trees outside their window actually heal faster after medical procedures and have fewer complications as well. Trees also act as landmarks and important symbols in history. For example, a chestnut tree in the city of Amsterdam is known as the Anne Frank Tree and is frequently referenced in her diary where she writes and dreams about a better world in the future. While it had to recently be cut down because of disease it lives on in 11 saplings that have been distributed worldwide to preserve her memory.  If you watched the Masters Golf tournament this past week you heard commentators talk with reverence about a pine tree that was also called “the Eisenhower Tree” which was lost in an ice storm this past winter and had a prominent role in the history of the golf course.

As Arbor Day approaches it seems appropriate to think a little more about trees and how they impact our lives. Whether it is a tree house that we play in as children or the fruit we eat each day all of us enjoy the benefits that trees bring to our lives and it’s a good time to give thanks for all they do for us. If you plant a tree this arbor day remember that you are doing a whole lot of good for not only yourself but for your neighbors too!

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