What is a street tree worth? Well, if you have had one put in front of your home, you know it costs $100 to plant a tree provided by the City. But that does not tell you the real value of a living tree, it’s benefits are impossible to calculate. To give people a sense of all they provide, we chose our 7 best reasons to plant a tree:
1. Turning down the heat. California has 7 of the hottest summers in the last 7 years. The shade and wind-breaking qualities that trees provide benefit everyone from the individual taking shelter from a hot summer day to entire cities. Cities typically have temperatures that can be as much as 6 degrees higher than the surrounding area, which is called the “heat island effect”. A tree lined street can lower those temperatures as much as 10 degrees.
2. Increased Property Values. In short, the proximity of healthy, beautiful trees directly affects property value. Increased tree cover raises property prices by about 7 percent in residential areas and 18 percent for building lots
3. Breathe Cleaner Air. Researchers have found that urban trees and forests are saving an average of one life every year per city because of the particulates that they remove from the air. Studies have found people experienced more deaths from heart disease and respiratory disease when they lived in areas where trees had disappeared. You can think of Trees as the “lungs of the planet” because of the oxygen they provide for us.
4. Reduced Crime. Neighborhoods with abundant trees have significantly fewer crimes than those without. Researchers think that this is because green spaces encourage people to spend more time outdoors with their neighbors, bolstering community trust and creating safer streets.
5. Mental Health. People in urban areas have a lower risk of developing psychological distress and better overall health if they have more trees within a walkable distance from their homes, researchers have found.
6. Clean Water. Forests provide filtration and storage systems that process nearly two-thirds of the water supply in the United States. When you drink a glass of tap water in a New York City restaurant, you are drinking water that was filtered largely by the forests of upstate New York.
7. Carbon Sequestration. Burning fossil fuels emits heat-trapping carbon dioxide into our atmosphere, changing our climate in dangerous ways. Planting trees can slow down this process. A tree can absorb as much as 48 pounds of carbon dioxide per year, and can sequester one ton of carbon dioxide by the time it reaches 40 years old.
No matter where you live, trees are a vital part of your quality of life. They supply oxygen, purify our air and water, reduce flooding, provide recreation, increase property values, and so much more. We hope you will join us in increasing our City Tree Canopy by planting one where you live, or by donating to San Leandro 2050 so that we can help others expand the Tree Canopy in San Leandro’s neighborhoods.