How Trees Contribute to Your Health
Trees are something we don’t think much about here in Oregon. They’re in abundance throughout our neighborhoods, our communities, even within our own property.
Visit a geographical location where trees are scarce, and you’ll quickly see the difference.
But did you know this difference doesn’t just impact the way the environment looks, it can also affect the way you feel? Studies show that adding trees to a neighborhood enhances health as well.
A study performed at the University of Chicago deemed that adding trees to a neighborhood helps both the self-perception of your health and can change cardio-metabolic conditions, which includes things like stroke, heart disease, diabetes, obesity, and more. Trees are known for their cleansing ability, to be able to improve air quality by pulling particulates and other pollutants into their leaves and out of the air, leaving behind cleaner, more breathable air. Trees also go a step further and help with stress reduction, providing a green environment that makes you happier to live in.
When a person perceives a more friendly environment to live in, breath in, and be in, they are more likely to take the next step and play in it too.
Place trees around your home and in your neighborhood and you’re more likely to strive for a healthy lifestyle. But when your urban communities – the city center areas you work in, shop in and eat in – are also greener, it can improve the health consciousness of the entire community.
How can a tree service company help preserve these benefits?
Trees Produce Oxygen
Trees use a process called photosynthesis to convert carbon dioxide to oxygen. You may remember that from science class when you were in school. A tree takes in three ingredients – light, carbon dioxide and water. It then uses the sun’s energy to release the carbon from carbon dioxide, combines it with the water and converts it to a carbohydrate, which in its simplest form is sugar. These carbohydrates and sugars are food for the trees. Throughout this process, excess water contains oxygen which is processed and released into the air, giving us the air we breathe. Thus, trees are beneficial for humans because we feed off of each other’s needs. It’s a give and take relationship that benefits us both.
Look around you. It takes about 22 trees to produce enough oxygen to keep one person happy and healthy. An acre of trees will produce enough oxygen for about 18 people. This is a rough estimate since the size and type of tree will ultimately impact the amount of oxygen as well. But it does make you think about trees a little differently when you consider the benefits they bring to our lives.
When a tree takes in particles and pollutants, it filters out the air by trapping these particulates in the leaves and bark. That means instead of allowing you to breathe in dirty air, a tree takes it in and stores it inside, cleaning the air and releasing higher quality breathable air for you.
It also means that these particulates can add up over time. Weak tree trunks, broken branches, and dying leaves can be an indication of a tree that isn’t as healthy as it should be. A tree service company understands the telltale signs a tree gives out and can quickly diagnose and sometimes reverse the damage that has been done.
Trees Impact Water
The average adult human body contains around 60 percent water. We need water circulating throughout our bodies for many reasons, including maintaining vibrant and healthy organs, and for converting food to energy. After oxygen, water is the most important nutrient we need to survive. Yet, statistically water pollution is one of our biggest problems.
In our homes, we take on a lot of home improvement projects to conserve water where we can. We install low flow toilets to save thousands of gallons each year. We choose EnergyStar rated appliances to use less water. And all of it helps.
But our appliances and fixtures aren’t the only places that allow us to keep our water supply clean, safe and free from pollutants. Trees do their part as well.
Plant a tree in your yard and in just a few years, it begins to shade large portions of your landscaping. That means thirsty lawns can go longer without needing a drink. Shade from trees also helps slow the evaporation from landscaping, which helps increase atmospheric moisture.
And unlike some landscaping that takes dozens of gallons of water each week to survive, the native tree can take little if any additional water once it’s planted and thriving. Most newly planted trees will take three to four gallons of water at a time, two to five times per week depending on rainfall.
Trees reduce runoff by breaking the rainfall and allowing the water to flow down the tree branches and trunk and into the earth below. They also prevent soil erosion on hillsides or stream slopes, holding the soil in place to provide us with the living environments we demand.
Trees Provide Life
Plant a tree, and it can add to the quality of your life. Take care of a tree, and you’ll have it in your life for decades.
While many of us might think small plant life when it comes to food production, trees also are a major factor in the food production process. Trees give us:
People all over the world rely on fruits, nuts, seeds, leaves, bark and sap for their well being. Did you know an apple tree can yield up to 15 to 20 bushels of fruit per year? Did you know an apple tree can be planted and survive on a tiny urban lot and provide a wealth of resources to the people within that community? Not only does it provide life for humans, but it brings back wildlife too.
A well-planted tree not only brings us all the good things we need to survive. And in addition, it creates a place of beauty that welcomes us home each night.
We might take trees for granted living here in Oregon. But when you think about all the wonderful ways they impact our lives and our health, maintaining them may be one thing that moves to the top of your to-do list.
When is the last time you used a tree service company to keep your trees in top shape?