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Trees in the Home Landscape

 

News Feature for Newsletters, Newspapers and Magazines   United States Department of Agriculture
Natural Resources Conservation Service
P.O. Box 2890
Washington, DC 20013

Trees add so much to the home landscape! They provide shade, clean air, habitat for wildlife, value to your property, and even memories.

If your yard does not have any trees at the moment, you may want to consider planting some. Studies have shown that trees and landscaping add value to your property. Even if you do not intend to sell your property, trees can provide years of enjoyment. If you have trees in your yard, check to see that they are healthy. If they are near the end of their life expectancy or show signs of decline, you may want to plant new trees that will become established before the old trees are removed.

If properly located and planted, trees can help control energy costs. A large shade tree planted on the southwest side of the house can provide cooling shade in the summer, helping reduce air conditioning costs. Once the leaves drop in the fall, the winter sun is free to warm your house on cold winter days. Evergreen trees, planted to block cold winter winds, can help reduce winter heating costs.

Have you wondered what you could do to reduce greenhouse gases and address global warming? Planting trees will help! One of the greenhouse gases causing the most concern is carbon dioxide. Plants take this gas out of the air and use it in photosynthesis. Carbon is stored in the wood and living tissues of trees. When leaves fall and are composted, carbon is added to the soil. This improves the soil for plant growth and stores more of the carbon in the form of soil organic matter. Carbon can be stored for hundreds of years in the trunks of trees or in the form of lumber, furniture, and other wood products. By planting trees in your yard, you can help reduce greenhouse gases.

Trees also provide shelter and food for a variety of wildlife. While installing bird feeders will help attract birds to your yard, providing them with nearby trees and shrubs to escape danger, build nests, and obtain food, will be even more effective. Squirrels and other small mammals use trees for nesting sites and food sources. When selecting trees, consider what food value they may offer to the wildlife in your community.

Trees can offer years of enjoyment. Planting trees and watching them grow can be part of your family's memories. Consider planting a tree to commemorate a milestone in your family's life. While raking leaves may seem like a chore as you get older, jumping in piles of leaves can be a treat for children. Hanging a swing, building a tree house, or simply relaxing under the shade of a tree on a hot summer day can be a memorable experience.

For more information on Backyard Conservation practices, contact your local conservation district or the Natural Resources Conservation Service. Or call 1-888-LANDCARE (toll free) for a free colorful Backyard Conservation booklet and tip sheets.

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Backyard Conservation is a cooperative project of
Natural Resources Conservation Service
Wildlife Habitat Council
National Association of Conservation Districts



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