The old saying, “Can’t see the forest for the trees”, may be far too applicable this year. Many of us are concerned about a single tree or even a few, on our own property. If we step back and look at the entire picture, we will see the true extent of the damage. I have been told that Memorial Park has been decimated. I can’t bring myself to even go look. Estimates as high as 66 million trees will have died this year in the Houston area. Good for tree companies, bad for the environment and you. Trees benefit us in many ways, from just being beautiful to look at to saving money and preventing erosion. Which ever is must important to you, replacing the trees should be one of the most important things on your to-do list.
Joyce Kilmer wrote “I think that I shall never see, A poem lovely as a tree.” That pretty much sums it up for many tree lovers. Humans like to look at trees, listen to the rustling sound they make and enjoy the shade they create. We enjoy their assorted colors and our hopes are raised by the first flush of growth in the spring. We like to climb them, plant them, care for them, eat from them and use them to provide the materials for our homes and furnishings. Without trees we would still be living in caves or mud huts and burning dung.
Trees provide unmeasurable environmental value.
- They create the oxygen we breathe and each tree absorbs a ton of carbon dioxide in its lifetime.
- Trees help prevent flooding. A large tree will collect upwards of 700 gallons of water on its leaves during a storm, reducing the amount of water that runs off. Millions of trees equal billions of gallons of water, kept out of our bayous.
- A very large, mature tree can drink up to 1000 gallons of water a day, great when it is rainy, not so good when it is dry, but trees are capable of going into drought mode and drinking far less.
- Erosion can be greatly reduced by trees. Their roots hold the soil together and trap sediments in water run off.
- Trees offer homes to wildlife, adding to the bio-diversityof the area.
- Homes shaded by trees have 10-30% lower cooling costs. A healthy tree cools the same amount of air that 10 small window unit air conditioners do in a 20 hour day.
- Homes with deciduous trees on the south and west sides have lower heating costs. When the leaves fall off the tree, more sun comes through the canopy and warms the house in the winter.
- Homes with trees sell for 10-20% more.
- Trees muffle noise. Property values in “quiet” neighborhoods are higher.
- Trees in municipalities create jobs. Someone needs to plan, plant and maintain them.
- Consumers spend 12% more, in businesses with trees in front of them.
- Treed neighborhoods have lower crime rates than those without trees.
- We use the attributes of trees to suit our own purposes. We use them to screen unsightly views and to create privacy. Adding value to your home and neighborhood.
- Trees relieve stress in your home, work place, schools and even when your driving.
If the trees in your yard did well, consider donating one to a school, park, church, or one of the arboretums in the area. They may not be able to plant now, but your commmitment for the future will help make Houston one of the most treed cities in the country again.