A large oak tree can transpire 40,000 gallons of water every year. Like other plants, trees are known to have the ability to absorb carbon dioxide from the air and produce oxygen. On a sunny day, you may have found the shade cover provided by a tree as a huge relief from the beaming sun. Trees offer much more benefits than just providing shade and absorbing carbon dioxide. Some of the more important benefits tress provide are significant air temperature reduction, clean smog from the air, and contribute to overall human wellbeing.
Through evapotranspiration and providing shade cover, trees can lower peak summer temperatures by 2–9°F. Buildings shaded by trees reduce energy use costs in the summer and winter. During the spring and summer, deciduous trees shade buildings from sunlight and lower the temperature, while in the fall and winter, the lack of leaves allow sunlight to reach buildings and increasing the temperature. Shading from trees minimize the heat load on hard surfaces like sidewalks and driveways, where the heat is radiated at night, resulting in increased temperatures. Trees are planted around buildings with cooling and heating in mind. Research has shown that strategically planting deciduous trees on the west side of buildings results in maximum cooling and heating efficiency.
Large trees transpire a ton of water each year. This water is absorbed from the soil and transpired through the leaves as water vapor. This cools down the surrounding area, while also increasing the humidity, which allows ground water to recharge and reduces soil erosion. The water that trees soak up also reduces stormwater runoff. Runoff takes oil and other harmful substances from the urban landscape and pollutes waterways. This can result in irreparable harm to wildlife and our water supply. One of the overlooked benefits of trees is their ability to remove particulates from the air. Pollen, dust, and other particulates are taken up by the wind and get blown through trees, where they get trapped on leaves. Trees are well know to absorb carbon dioxide via photosynthesis, but they are also capable of absorbing other harmful pollutants such as carbon monoxide, nitrogen oxides, ozone, and sulfur dioxide.
Trees are aesthetically pleasing to look at. Especially in urban areas where there isn’t much greenery, trees can provide people with a needed dose of nature. Trees block noise pollution by simply getting in the way of sound waves. A strategically placed tree in front of windows can block up to 40 percent of noise. It can also block off more unattractive scenery in urban landscapes. Views of large buses streaming down a street isn’t exactly the most pleasant view you can have. Trees are habitats for various birds, who provide nature’s music to the ears of anyone nearby. Studies of hospital patients showed faster healing among those who were situated in rooms with a window view of leafy trees.
Relative to their size, trees are cheaper to plant and maintain than many other plants. We often overlook the value of trees, but the world would look vastly different without the presence of trees, even just aesthetically. It is hard to imagine streets not being lined with trees and leaves not changing colors in the fall. Trees provide a functional benefit in cooling down the air temperature and cleaning the air, but trees also provide an immeasurable aesthetic benefit that increases our quality of life.
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