A recent study published in the journal Science by an international research team as part of NASA’s global climate change project estimated the global potential of recovering forested lands as a feasible technique for mitigating climate change. They calculated that planting more than half a trillion trees around the planet might reduce atmospheric carbon dioxide by around 25%, which would be enough to offset 20 years of current human-caused carbon emissions.
“That’s a lot of trees,” you’re thinking. “Can it really make a difference if I plant a couple in my yard?”
“Yes,” is the quick answer. According to the Arbor Day Foundation of the United States Department of Agriculture, a single mature tree can remove 48 pounds of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere in a year while also releasing much-needed oxygen. As a result, every tree planted removes more carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and reduces environmental damage. Consider what would happen if everyone in your neighborhood planted one tree.
The advantages of planting a tree don’t end there. Other advantages of trees include helping to manage rainwater and preventing erosion. Their root systems aid in soil stabilization and stability, while their canopies provide shade and keep our homes and yards cooler. Birds and other species, especially crucial pollinators who fertilize and help boost the numbers of other beneficial plants, find food and refuge in trees.
Being a good steward of the trees
You have a responsibility as a homeowner to manage your property and the landscape it stands on, including the trees that grow there. Some homeowners, however, do not “see” their trees. They frequently serve just as a green backdrop, attracting notice only when they shed their leaves in the fall, causing many people to complain about the raking and leaf-blowing that goes along with it.
Mature trees are much more difficult to observe because everything happens up in the canopy, which can be as high as 25 or 50 feet in the air, requiring a lot of craning of necks to see and investigate. But those large canopies add a lot of value to your trees, so it’s crucial to take care of them rather than just hacking away at limbs that are hanging over the house or a neighbor’s land. Or, even worse, simply chopping them down without much thought.
Being a good steward of the trees means learning a little bit about them, understanding such things as:
- Water Consumption: as my trees get bigger, will they be able to get the water they need?
- Height & Width: how tall and wide will my trees get? Are my trees a good distance from any boundary lines and is there room for them to grow without causing problems down the road?
- Maintenance: do my trees need a lot of regular maintenance such as trimming and pruning?
- Benefits: what value do my trees provide and how do they help my property and the environment? What animals do they support?
Planting a tree to benefit the environment entails more than simply putting one in the ground. Consider the resources needed to effectively pick, transport, plant, care for, and sustain that tree. Is your soil capable of maintaining a fully grown tree, or do you need to increase its quality so that fertilizers and other chemicals are used less frequently?
Keep in mind that not all trees will thrive in your garden. It’s crucial to choose trees that are appropriate to your environment, not just because they look nice. Select the proper tree and install it in the right area with the help of a landscape professional, arborist, or garden center to maximize its chances of success, allowing it to grow and mature with minimal interruption and extra work.
Even if you just have a little yard, you can still plant a tree. Small spaces necessitate constraint and extra forethought, but the end result may be especially rewarding – it can bring beauty, a sense of spaciousness, and a place to unwind in an otherwise cramped location. Consider hiring a tree specialist to assist you to choose and growing trees to make the most of your area and alternatives.
Trees are an incredible yet underappreciated resource that can help combat climate change. Scientists are still learning a lot about trees and their complicated role in nature. But one thing is certain: the earth needs all of the trees we can plant.