plant trees

plant for the

Trees play a huge role in providing habitats for animals, food supply, and oxygen. Plants have a unique capability to absorb carbon dioxide and release oxygen, cleaning the air of pollutants. However, we are currently emitting green house gasses at such a high rate while simultaneously losing many of the worlds natural forests. Planting trees is a great way to help the planet and beautify your yard at the same time! Trees also create a place to have picnics, pick fruit, and garden together while you watch your kids grow up just like the trees. If you don’t have space to plant trees, you can volunteer or donate to community gardens and reforestation organizations.

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Planting trees has always been a cornerstone of the environmental protection movement, but many do not understand just how important trees are to our society and nature beyond the fact that they produce oxygen. Planting more trees in rural and urban areas alike would be a solution to many issues including pollution, loss of natural resources, and even accessibility to food. Not only is planting trees a great way to help the environment and your local community, but it is a great way to get involved and learn new things.

environmental benefits:

Trees are beneficial for the environment because of the major impact they have on the atmosphere, water, and natural factors around them. Carbon sequestration, an instrumental weapon against climate change, is the process of absorbing carbon dioxide form the atmosphere and storing it away. All plants are helpful in that process because they naturally do it through photosynthesis, but trees are particularly beneficial because their large structure allows them to absorb larger amount of carbon dioxide and produce more oxygen. High amounts of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere is the leading cause of climate change, and there isn’t any artificial process than can sequester carbon as well as trees can.

Trees can also help prevent water pollution and stormwater runoff. When it rains, trees absorb the water through their leaves, back, and roots; by doing so, the water cannot easily pick up pollutants and carry them to waterways. Water is harbored in the tree and in the organic matter surrounding it, and the minerals in the soil detoxify the water by extracting any oils or other toxins through a natural filtration process. This is beneficial for trees and humans, because the soil will remain nutrient and sources of fresh water will not be contaminated. Nutrient-rich soil is also able to sequester carbon, which is helpful in the fight against atmospheric pollution.

Soil malnutrition and erosion, which are serious issues across the globe, can be solved by planting trees as well. When trees are stripped away from the land as they have been for human development, their roots are no longer present to hold together soil during storms or high winds. Without the trees and their root systems in place, the fertile soil and the nutrients in it are easily carried away through natural processes; this leaves behind dry and loose dirt that is often not viable to support plant life and compromises the integrity of buildings in the area. It is natural for soil to move and change, but without trees present the process is accelerated and disasters like mudslides and beach erosion occur. This can bring harm to humans not only because the ground on which structures are built is no longer reliable, but because the agricultural sector is compromised by the loss of nutrients in the soil.

your home’s benefits:

Planting more trees can not only help the environment, but your home as well. Planting trees is actually a cost-effective method of protecting homes from natural elements. When the weather is warm, heat is absorbed through windows and roofs, which will increase cooling costs and the amount of energy required to keep your home at a comfortable temperature. Planting trees to block the solar heat can reduce air conditioning costs by up to 30 percent; trees can also be used to block wind gusts during the winter, saving between ten and 50 percent on home heating costs. However, it is important to pay attention to the placement of the trees so they are effective. The U.S. Department of Energy has a great guide here for strategically planting trees to save the most money and energy in a safe way.

Community gardens:

If there are restrictions on planting trees on your property, consider researching community gardens in your area. Many organizations, food banks, and churches offer them so members can grow food for their families and neighbors that struggle with food insecurity. Fruit trees provide the same environmental benefits of other trees, and they also offer resources for your family and neighbors. Your community will be able to witness the benefits of providing fresh foods locally in addition to helping the environment. By planting fruit trees and other food plants, you can feed your community, reduce the impact of transporting foods, and improve natural resources.

family fun:

Caring for trees and gardening are great activities for families to participate in. Growing plants offers an opportunity to teach kids about responsibility and nature, and it will provide a relaxing activity that everyone can enjoy. Here are some tips to help get the process started:

  • Plant trees that are native to your area, because they will grow quickly and will be better for your local ecosystem.
  • Research and pick trees that absorb large amounts of carbon dioxide and produce large amount of oxygen.
    • Pines have many subspecies that are suitable for several different conditions, depending on the area you live in.
    • Trees with large leaves photosynthesize better.
    • Fast growing trees are best at carbon sequestration and oxygen production, especially when they are young.
  • Research the trees you get before buying and planting to ensure that they are appropriate for your area and that you can provide proper care.
  • If you are buying trees to help energy costs in your home, make sure the correct types of trees are planted. 
    • Buy deciduous trees to keep your home cooler. They will block the sun during the summer and lose their leaves in the winter.
    • Buy evergreens to break wind gusts. They keep their leaves or needles year-round.
  • For tips about caring for trees, visit https://www.arborday.org/. Members receive more information, discounts, and ten free trees upon joining. 
Haley O'Connor

Haley O'Connor

Green Actioneer Intern
UCF Political Science Student

references:

American Arborists. “What Trees Are Best Suited for the Changing Climate?” American Arborists, 13 Feb. 2019, www.americanarborists.net/tree-tips/2017/july/what-trees-are-best-suited-for-the-changing-clim/.

“Landscaping for Shade.” Energy.gov, www.energy.gov/energysaver/landscaping-energy-efficient-homes/landscaping-shade.

“Energy Saver 101 Infographic: Landscaping.” Energy.gov, www.energy.gov/articles/energy-saver-101-infographic-landscaping.

“Natural Resources Conservation Service.” Land Degradation: An Overview | NRCS Soils, United States Department of Agriculture, www.nrcs.usda.gov/wps/portal/nrcs/detail/soils/use/?cid=nrcs142p2_054028.

Cable, Dave. “Trees Save Energy.” TreesCharlotte, 8 Apr. 2015, treescharlotte.org/tree-tips/trees-save-energy/.

Ontl, Todd A., and Lisa A. Schulte. “Soil Carbon Storage.” Nature News, Nature Publishing Group, www.nature.com/scitable/knowledge/library/soil-carbon-storage-84223790/.



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