Most people have heard of trees helping the world by producing oxygen, removing CO2, and providing a habitat for wildlife. But trees do so much more than that! Here are three lesser-known benefits of having well-cared-for trees in your yard.
1. Shade Trees and Evergreens Save You Money on Heating and Cooling
Trees saving you money on HVAC? It’s more real than you might think (and no, we’re not talking about free firewood). When planted in the right spots, trees provide natural cover for your home that reduces heating and cooling costs. Details below.
How Do Trees Save Energy in a Building?
When it comes to saving energy on HVAC, trees serve two main functions: 1) acting as a windbreak in the winter and 2) providing shade in the summer. Evergreens are the best windbreaks since they don’t drop their needles or leaves. They’re still full in the winter, allowing them to block a frigid wind. Your home can cool down faster in cold winds and lose more heat to leaking windows or doors.
In the summer, shade drops your cooling bill by allowing less direct sun to heat your home. Direct sunlight can increase your cooling costs by up to 10%.
Where to Plant Trees for Maximum Benefits
The backyard and front yard tree placement don’t matter as much as the cardinal direction your home faces. Plant deciduous (leafy) trees on your house’s east and west sides. They’ll provide extra shade throughout the day in the summer, then lose their leaves and allow the sun to peep through in the winter. If you don’t have the space to the east or west, choose leafy trees for the south side of your house to provide shade.
Plant evergreens upwind of your home to protect it in the winter. In most areas, the wind comes from the north, west, or northwest, though your local climate may mean the prevailing wind comes from an odd direction. Choose trees and shrubs that don’t lose their leaves in winter and have branches all or most of the way down to the ground, like junipers, spruces, and fir trees.
2. Trees Improve Mental Health
Trees aren’t just lovely to look at; they also improve our well-being. Spending time around trees can lower blood pressure, reduce stress, improve mood, increase your energy level and ability to focus, and even boost your immune system! With trees and mental health so closely linked, it’s not surprising that having a few in our backyards can boost our moods.
Why Do Trees Reduce Stress?
While we may not know precisely how trees reduce stress, we know that they can. One theory is that trees provide a break from the things in our daily lives that stress us out. Numerous studies have shown that walking in the woods (or even just sitting and looking at trees) can decrease stress and anxiety and boost our mood. Study participants reported feeling less stressed after even looking at pictures of trees.
3. Trees Protect the Soil from Erosion
If you have bare soil that constantly washes away, try planting a tree! Trees improve storm drainage and reduce soil erosion.
How Do Trees Protect Soil?
During storms, trees act as a natural weather break, protecting the soil underneath from heavy rains and runoff that could carry away healthy soil. In clusters, trees also protect the soil from the forces of wind erosion.
A healthy root system holds soil in place where it might otherwise have been lost to natural runoff or erosion. Trees removing water from the soil also prevent the ground from getting so wet and heavy that the dirt slides down a slope or runs off in a stream of water.
The Best Trees to Help with Drainage and Erosion
If you have poorly drained soil, plant a tree with water tolerance. Depending on your yard’s specific conditions, you’ll want a tree that likes moist soil and can handle short-term flooding. Popular choices include red maple, river birch, pawpaw, sugarberry, hawthorn, sweet gum, sycamore, American elm, and willow oaks.
Are you trying to keep a slope or hill in place? Trees with dense canopies and spreading root systems often do the most good. Ask an arborist for recommendations, or try hickory, white oak, Douglas fir, or black cherry.
Return the Favor: Professional Tree Care Helps Keep Your Trees Happy
Along with everything else, your trees also save you money on HVAC expenses, improve your happiness, and protect your soil. To return the favor(s) – and to keep your precious trees around for a long time – contact your local Monster Tree Service or call (888) 744-0155: today for a free estimate. We offer regular fertilization, pruning & trimming services, and more because trees want to be happy too.