Even if you’ve lived in South Florida for a while, you may not realize how important trees are here and the many benefits they provide. They become such a normal part of our landscape that eventually you might not notice them anymore, even the ubiquitous official tree of Florida: the sabal palm.
Florida has more kinds of trees than any other state, and between Miami-Dade and Broward counties, Florida is home to 33 National Champion or Co-Champion trees.
But trees are more than background for our lives; they have many benefits and there are endless reasons why we should care for (and plant) trees in our area.
Trees reduce stress
Let’s face it – life is stressful. No matter what the day-to-day logistics of your life might look like, stress is often a continual factor. Did you know that it is a proven fact that spending time among trees actually reduces stress? In Japan (and growing worldwide), there is a practice called “forest bathing.” This has nothing to do with cleanliness but is all about immersing yourself in nature and surrounding yourself with trees. According to studies on the subject, you don’t need to hike or walk or even do yoga – just being in nature reduces stress and, in some cases, increases health.
To experience the stress-busting effects of trees, you could plan a visit the Deerfield Beach Arboretum or the Mounts Botanical Garden in West Palm Beach, with 13 acres of tropical trees and plants. Or just take a walk around your neighborhood!
Can’t get outside very often? Looking at pictures of trees can have a similarly soothing effect.
Trees can lower temperatures
Did you know that Miami-Dade County has been called the “hottest major metro area in the country,” and that the heat is expected to continue rising? Because of the combined humidity and temperature, more heat-related deaths are forecasted for our area. The solution to this heat problem is more simple than you may think: planting trees.
In an Urban Tree Canopy Assessment of Miami-Dade County, conducted by the University of Florida and Florida International University in 2016, researchers studied the correlation between the amount of tree cover and the resulting temperatures. As you can see starting on page 8 of the report, areas with less tree cover had higher temperatures, and areas with more tree cover had lower temperatures.
The shade that trees provide is a big part of this, as is something called transpiration. Transpiration is when trees release water from their leaves, thus cooling the temperature of the air around them by several degrees. Asphalt, concrete, and other hardscaping, on the other hand, absorb the heat of the sun during the day and release it at night, increasing nighttime temperatures.
Because of the cooling properties of trees, homes and other buildings that are shaded by trees need less energy for cooling.
Million Trees Miami Campaign
Have you heard about Miami-Dade County’s “Million Trees Miami” campaign? The goal is to increase the area’s tree canopy to 30%. However, they’re relying on homeowners and property owners to assist in reaching that goal.
According to their website, “Miami-Dade County has committed to planting 30 percent of the million trees. That’s 300,000 trees. In order to plant the other 700,000, we are reaching out to our cities, schools, universities, institutions, corporations, and residents to join our effort.”
If you’d like to help with that effort, give us a call or contact us online. We can recommend the best trees to plant and even plant them for you!
Trees save you money
Trees shade your property from sun and wind, reducing energy costs. They also increase the value of your property, as homebuyers are much more likely to buy a home with trees (especially healthy, mature trees that are well-maintained).
According to i-Tree’s tree benefit calculator, a 20 inch live oak in the Pompano Beach area provides financial benefits worth $49.40 each year – and that increases as the tree grows (as long as it stays healthy). That sounds like a pretty great return on investment to us!
Trees can protect against storm damage
As we mentioned in our article on trees and hurricanes, trees can actually protect homes from some storm damage. You might be tempted to remove trees to minimize damage, but as various storms have hit, we’ve seen that neighborhoods with the most tree cover actually have the least amount of damage and debris. The secret is to have healthy, deeply rooted, well-maintained trees.
In fact, the more trees the better, as the trees can protect your home from damaging winds. As this article points out, many people have removed trees after hurricanes for fear of expensive repairs in the future. Unfortunately, this was to the detriment of the homes around them, as they also removed an important protective barrier against strong winds.
Trees help us breathe better
What’s better than breathing in some fresh, clean air? As we all (hopefully) learned in school, trees take in carbon dioxide and release oxygen, allowing us to literally breathe better.
Studies have shown that those who suffer from asthma have fewer asthma attacks if they live in a tree-lined urban neighborhood. This could be because trees also remove air pollutants, which often trigger asthma issues. Indeed, all of us breathe better when the leaves and bark of trees absorb pollutants, such as ozone, carbon monoxide, and sulfur dioxide.
Trees impact our moods and habits
Graffiti and minor crimes such as vandalism and littering are less frequent in green areas.
People shop and visit businesses more on tree-lined streets.
Whether conscious or not, we seem to be more comfortable and motivated in areas with trees.
Many items that you use every day come from trees
Along with the obvious items such as fruit and nuts, many of our common everyday products originate from trees. Any paper product such as books, coffee filters, etc. are from trees. Do you drink coffee? Coffee berries are from – you guessed it, trees! Chocolate? Trees. Olive oil and wine corks come from olive trees and cork trees. When you sit on a wooden chair, write with a pencil, or walk across a hardwood floor, those products used to be trees as well. If you stop to think about it, a great number of objects in our lives come from trees.
Trees protect your privacy
Trees and shrubs are often used to delineate property borders, but they also work well to provide privacy from peering eyes. What’s more, trees can block up to 40% of noise, reducing noise pollution from your neighbors or a busy road, especially if they are close by.
Trees provide a home for wildlife
From birds building nests to animals sheltering from the elements, trees are vital to many animal species. Trees also provide food for wildlife, especially nuts and berries.
Enjoy the many benefits of trees!
So the next time you’re wandering through your neighborhood or exploring one of South Florida’s many unique neighborhoods, take a moment to appreciate the trees around you and all of the good that they provide for our area.
Call Sherlock for quality tree services
Whether you're looking for specific tree care services, such as palm trimming, tree removal, or disease treatments, or would like one of our Arborists to examine your trees to identify any issues and recommend options, we're always here for you! Just give us a call at 954-788-4000 to set up an appointment.
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