The Importance of Trees

The spill at the Gold King Mine last week reminded me how fragile our trees and environment really are. It also reminded me of the importance of the plants and other living things that surround and live in that ecosystem. It’s no different in your yard.

One of the best things you can do is plant a tree. I’m not saying that just as someone who owns a nursery. The facts are indisputable.

Planting trees means improved water quality. Less runoff and erosion allows more recharging of the ground water supply. Wooded areas also help prevent the transport of sediment and chemicals into streams. Sound familiar?

It’s been proven that homes with attractive, appropriate landscaping sell for an average of 10-30% more than those who are not well landscaped.

Trees are cool. Homes shaded by trees enjoy 10-30% savings on air conditioning costs compared to those without shade. Trees which are properly placed around buildings can result in a 20-50% savings in energy for that building. A healthy tree cools the air equivalent to 10 room sized air conditioners, operating 20 hours a day. If you plant a deciduous tree (one that loses its leaves each winter) the leaves will shade your windows in the summer but warm your home in the winter once the leaves have fallen.

Trees can lower your grocery bills. Fruit trees provide apples, peaches, pears, cherries and other natural flavors to grace your kitchen table. One of my staff members had a bumper crop of cherries this summer and every one of us enjoyed them!

Trees make you healthy. One acre of forested area absorbs six tons of carbon dioxide and puts out four tons of oxygen. And in laboratory research, visual exposure to trees has produced significant recovery from stress within five minutes. So if you are spending money on tranquilizers, save it. Plant a tree instead.

But what kind should you plant? Obviously there are some that are better than others, depending on exactly where in our area you live. These are just three of my “tried and true” and should do well just about anywhere.

Autumn Blaze Maple- If you absolutely love fall color, this is my number one favorite and is the one in the photo on the email. Classic red in the fall, it provides great shade throughout the summer months. This tree is wind resistant which also makes it a great choice and at about 40 feet tall at maturity, it makes a statement in your yard.

Quaking Aspens- Everyone who knows Colorado is familiar with aspen trees. Their rich, golden color in the fall makes them unique and recognizable everywhere in the mountains. Aspens are good for shade- I have them planted in front of windows that I want to shade in the summer, but during the winter when they’ve lost their leaves, that room is warm and sunny. Please don’t go dig them from the forest! Many people don’t realize that the aspen root system is among the largest in the world and an entire hillside can all be connected. By digging an individual one to take home, you are breaking that root system and your chance of survival for that tree is small. Instead, choose a container grown aspen from your local nursery. If you can’t wait for a large tree, visit with us at Four Seasons and we’ll share with you our secrets for success. We can put 6′ of growth on an aspen in a single growing season with leaves as large as my hand!

Colorado Blue Spruce- Another staple in the Colorado landscape, this is an evergreen which stays lovely all year. Often used for Christmas trees, this is a great one to use for that purpose then plant in your yard after the holidays to enjoy for years to come. It’s also another tree that can grow quite large, so be sure to give it some room.

There’s an old saying that reads, “The best time to plant a tree was 10 years ago; the next best time to plant is today!” That’s especially true because of the season. Many people don’t realize that planting in the late summer and fall is sometimes better than planting in the spring. The ground is warm from the summer sun, so the roots have time to get established. Think about it like putting your feet into a bucket of ice water when you plant in the spring, versus putting them into a warm water bath when you plant now. They like that warm soil and since the nighttime temps have begun to cool, there is less transplant shock. So no matter how you view it, whether you’re looking for a way to beat the heat, lower your bills, or simply add oxygen and enjoy it’s beauty, it’s a great time to plant a tree!