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Trees have benefits beyond beauty

Trees are necessary for their beauty alone. But they have other benefits as well.

“I challenge people to find anything else they can add to their house that doesn’t start depreciating right away. Trees are one thing that just gets better and gains value every year,” Greg Davis, professor of landscape design at K-State, said.

Community forester Tim McDonnell said that from the numbers he’s seen, trees can add 10 to 15 percent to the value of a house. And they can provide 15 to 20 percent in energy savings either from shading the house in summer or blocking the wind in winter.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture makes these claims, from arborday.org:

“The net cooling effect of a young, healthy tree is equivalent to 10 room-size air conditioners operating 20 hours a day.”

And, “one acre of forest absorbs six tons of carbon dioxide and puts out four tons of oxygen. This is enough to meet the annual needs of 18 people.”

The Forest Service adds these benefits, from the same website: “The planting of trees means improved water quality, resulting in less runoff and erosion. This allows more recharging of the ground-water supply.”

And lest you give short shrift to the importance of trees as part of our psychological health, Roger Ulrich of Texas A&M University said (also from arborday.org):

“In laboratory research, visual exposure to settings with trees has produced significant recovery from stress within five minutes, as indicated by changes in blood pressure and muscle tension.”

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