Think Green: Trees a Big Plus For Your Home
you embark on your house-hunting ventures, chances are the
contenders canopied by mature trees will make the top of your list. Or,
if you're buying a new home, you're probably anxious to get those trees
planted to reap the awards in the years ahead.
benefits of trees are numerous. They increase property values,
sometimes as much as 20 percent, according to the National Arbor Day
average, trees add between 5 to 7 percent to the value of the property
- the U.S. Forest Service says the added value results in an extra
$5,000 per lot.
help cool your home. The USFS says trees that are placed strategically
around buildings can reduce air conditioning needs by 30 percent and
can save 20 to 50 percent in energy used to heat a home.
Greener Cities, A Tree Planting Handbook (Global Releaf, Living Plant
Press, Los Angeles, 1992), says the average base value for a tree with
a 10-inch diameter (measured 4.5 feet from the ground) is $1,729. A
tree with a 30-inch diameter has an average base value of $15,554. The
values are adjusted based on species, location in relation to the
house, and condition.
As you set
out to plant a tree, the International Society of Arboriculture
recommends you consider:
the tree is being planted. Will it be for shade, fruit, or seasonal
space you have. Determine whether a small-, medium- or large-sized tree
would fit best. Be sure to consider overhead, underground wires and
for sidewalks, patios and driveways.
conditions. Is the soil deep, fertile and well drained, or is it
shallow, compact, and infertile? Many nurseries and garden centers will
provide - for a minor fee - an evaluation of your soil's fertility and
pH. The test is typically returned with recommendations for improving
your soil with fertilizers or soil amendments.
How much sunlight will the tree have? Most woody plants need full
sunlight; some do well in light shade. Few perform well under heavy
shade conditions. You should also think about exposure to wind and be
ready to stake young trees.
Tree roots need oxygen to thrive. You can test the drainage in the
space you are considering by planting test holes 12 inches wide by 12
inches deep. Fill with water and see how long it takes for the water to
drain completely. It shouldn't take more than six hours.
This is how well the tree would hold up in extreme hot and cold
conditions for specific geographic regions.
maintenance. Factor in how much upkeep you're willing to provide.
Consider the time necessary for watering, fertilizing, and pruning. The
says the top five reasons trees die are related to people - soil
compaction, underwatering, overwatering, vandalism, and planting the
you'll want to think about what type of form you're seeking. Think
about what the mature tree will look like, and be sure you have enough
space. Some of the forms to think about include pyramidal,
full-crowned, vase, fountain, spreading, layered, columnar, and
says a small spreading tree is a good choice for a location with
overhead utility lines. A narrow, columnar form provides a good screen,
especially when a row of them are planted alongside one another. A
large vase-shaped tree can create an arbor over a driveway or city
you've gone through these steps you'll be ready to pick a species of
tree that will best meet your needs. For further assistance, contact
you local ISA certified arborist, tree care professional, garden center
or county extension agent for help.
Written by Michele Dawson
Home Is Worth? -- Let me show you.