On Arbor Day, we celebrate the significant role trees play in our lives and our environment and promote the planting and care of trees.
So why should we celebrate and plant trees? In addition to being beautiful, trees provide a variety of benefits to people and the environment. Find our:
Top Ten Reasons to Plant a Tree
- The shade of a well-placed mature tree can lower the surface temperature of your home and reduce your energy use by as much as 40 percent. And since energy generation requires significant amounts of water, reducing your energy use also reduces water demands.
- Trees produce oxygen and help to clean the air by removing airborne particulates and other pollutants.
- Trees can help prevent water pollution by alleviating stormwater runoff. The canopy of the tree collects the rainwater, and it then runs down the trunk and into the ground. This prevents the stormwater from carrying pollutants into our waterways. Trees can also help alleviate soil erosion by slowing runoff and holding soil in place. These benefits happen in well-forested areas and in our cities.
- Trees attract and provide habitat for wildlife, including birds, bees, bugs, and butterflies.
- Homes landscaped with trees sell faster and have higher property values as compared to homes without trees.
- Trees provide food for both humans and wildlife.
- Trees can create barriers to muffle or diffuse sounds and camouflage unsightly views.
- In many places around the world, trees are nature’s calendar, marking the changing of the seasons.
- Planting trees at a community event, such as Arbor Day, can improve engagement among residents and help strengthen neighborhoods.
- Trees can create jobs, such as selling harvested fruit, landscaping design and maintenance, and skill-based jobs related to turning the wood into products.
We encourage you to get creative, get outdoors, and get planting this Arbor Day!
Wondering where to start? Here are some helpful answers to common questions from Joanne Toms, Environmental Program Manager from City of Glendale:
What type of tree should I plant?
Pick a tree that can survive and thrive in our desert region. Heat tolerant trees often have the following characteristics: small leaves, light green or grey leaves, are native to arid climates and can tolerate intermittent watering. Visit Plants for the Arizona Desert, which features more than 30 desert-adapted trees. For a printed copy, contact your local water conservation office.
Where should I water my tree?
Nature knows best. Imitate nature by watering your tree at the drip line (at the outer reaches of the canopy of the tree). This is also where a tree naturally sheds rainwater. The most active water absorption area is at the drip line and beyond, not adjacent to the trunk.
How much should I water my tree?
You need to fill up your tree’s underground water storage tank – the “root zone,” or the soil surrounding the tree’s roots. Be sure to water the tree’s root zone which is 24 to 36 inches deep. A good way to test how deep you have watered is to use a soil probe or a long screwdriver. Just be sure to know where your irrigation and utility lines are located, first. Several hours after watering, push the probe into the soil. It will slide easily through wet soil but will be difficult or impossible to push through dry soil. Check out our online booklet and interactive watering guide on how to best water your trees.
Here are more resources to help you get the most out of your Arbor Day celebration:
- Glendale’s Earth Day page– shares the benefits of trees.
- Glendale’s Xeriscape Demonstration Garden– click on the Tree Trail tab at the bottom of the page to see tree care videos and interpretive signage.
Did you know that up to 70 percent of water use is outdoors? That’s why we love desert plants and feature them each month. It’s still a great time to plant, and you can learn more about desert trees and other plants on our Arizona Low-Water-Use Plants page. Visit our page on Choosing and Planting Low-Water-Use Plants for tips on plant selection and how to plant properly.
« Earth Day with Wayne Drop Next Article:
It’s Teacher Appreciation Week! »