The relationship between humans and nature has been a complex and multi-faceted one that spans countless generations. In the days before recorded history, the forests represented shelter, food, and protection from the elements. Today, trees and other foliage line quaint residential streets and parks, and they provide depth to more compacted urban environments.
Now that the days of hunting and gathering are mostly behind us, it is easy to relegate modern trees to the realm of decorations. This perspective carries over into suburban and urban communities elsewhere in the world, many see landscaping as a luxury that can enhance the look of a residence, but that view misses all the more profound benefits that trees provide.
Our relationship with trees and urban landscaping is actually mutually beneficial on multiple levels; when trees and other plants are properly cared for, they return health, environmental, and financial benefits to their owners. If your trees are sick or some of the branches have grown perilously long, hire a local arborist to trim dead branches this winter and ensure that these miraculous living things remain in good health – for both their benefits and your own.
Well-maintained landscaping can provide much-needed support to the surrounding ecosystem and its environment. According to the Trees in the Townscape guide provided by the Tree and Design Action Group, the right species of tree can act as a keystone species for the ecosystem. These plants provide an environment for invertebrates and other small species to survive, which then support local birds and small mammals. Trees also act as air filters, trapping dangerous gasses and other pollutants, in addition to contributing to healthy soil by maintaining aeration and decreasing erosion with their root structures. Of course, choosing the best tree to provide maximum benefits to any yard is a highly scientific process, one that a certified arborist can help homeowners navigate more efficiently based on where you live and how much land you’re working with.
In addition to supporting the surrounding environment and ecosystem, trees provide tangible, and immediate, benefits to homeowners. Appropriately places trees can aid in temperature control of the home, providing shade from the sun, as well as protection from winds and rain. They also provide a tangible, long-term, financial benefits. A study done by the University of Washington found that streets lined with mature trees reported faster sales time for residential properties, proving that they support stronger market values. The International Society of Arboriculture (ISA) provides an online benefits calculator to assist homeowners with understanding the annual financial returns their trees provide.
The ISA provides a certification program to establish the standard of knowledge for professionals. A certified arborist will be able to provide the highest care, with the most current knowledge. Having a tree, or a large yard, populated with trees is beneficial to homeowners for many reasons. When it comes to servicing those trees, be sure to consult a certified professional. Tree-care activities like climbing, trimming, and removal, can be hazardous and are best left to the pros.