An old recommendation that has always stuck with me says, "Plant acorns on 40 foot centers." This graphically contrasts the size of a small seedling with the depth and breadth of a mature oak. When a
shade tree is planted, it is for future generations to enjoy.. Most people like trees and relate to them on a personal level, so here are some reasons to plant a tree this fall-- and when you think of some more, go
ahead and add them in the comment section!
1. Trees increase property values by softening harsh outlines of buildings, screening unsightly views and providing brilliant fall color. Slow-growing, small ornamental trees are intrinsically valuable. Trees add beauty and grace to any community setting, making life more enjoyable, peaceful, relaxing. Trees offer a rich inheritance for future generations.
2. Trees reduce air conditioning utility bills for cooling during summer heat an average of 33% percent
through their shade and respiration, providing natural "low-tech" cooling. This reduces the need to build
additional dams, power plants, and nuclear generators. Deciduous trees provide passive solar
temperature regulation, providing shade in summer, but offering light during winter.
3. Tree shelters and windbreaks reduce heating bills in winter, increase snow entrapment, wind reduction
and wildlife habitat. Living snow fences hold snow away from roads, keeping roads open and reducing
road maintenance costs. Tree shelters for wildlife habitat and livestock reduce weight loss during cold
winter months and provide shade for moderating summer heat, along with significantly increasing crop yields
compared to fields with no windbreaks. Windbreaks create a more favorable micro-climate for cropland
by reducing wind and heat stress on the crop, while preventing topsoil loss and reducing soil moisture losses.
4. After leaves drop to the ground in autumn and are raked, they provide excellent mulch for flowerbeds
and gardens, as well as exercise for people raking them.
5. Trees provide nutmeats (pecans, walnuts, hickory, hazelnuts), fruit (peach, apple, plum, persimmon), berries for jams and jellies (chokecherry, buffaloberry), and maple syrup, and pharmaceutical products (for example, Taxol from Taxus or Yew trees in the Pacific NW has been successful in fighting breast, ovarian and lung cancer.
6. Trees help reduce stress in the workplace, increase the speed of recovery of hospital patients and instill community pride.
7. Forests provide summer and winter range for migratory birds.
8. Trees reduce soil erosion and water pollution, help recharge ground water and sustain streamflow. Forests
provide watersheds for lakes and ponds.
9. Fast growing trees provide fuelwood for stoves and fireplaces by establishing a continuous supply of
energy plantations, while managed forests provide pulpwood, lumber, plywood, veneer and other wood
products on a sustained yield basis.
10. Trees alleviate the “Greenhouse Effect” by absorbing carbon. A single tree absorbs about 13 pounds of CO2 per year, and one acre of new forest sequesters around 2.5 tons of carbon annually. Planting 100 million trees in the U.S. would reduce the amount of carbon by an estimated 18 million tons per year.
So why wouldn't you pick out a tree and plant it this autumn?
SOURCES: Kim Coder UGA Extension, Glenn Roloff USDA Forest Service; http://www.treelink.org/