Drum roll, please … Here are our top 10 reasons why you should plant a tree this year!

10. Decreased Odor – Trees absorb odors and pollutant gases (nitrogen oxides, ammonia, sulfur dioxide, and ozone) and filter particulates out of the air by trapping them on their leaves and bark.

9.  Protect the Soil – By holding soil in place with their root systems, by deflecting pounding rain with their canopies, and by adding nutrients each fall with their leaves, trees are crucial to keeping and improving our soil.

8.  Diffuse – Trees can mask concrete walls or parking lots and unsightly views. They muffle sound from nearby streets and freeways and create an eye-soothing canopy of green. Trees absorb dust and wind and reduce glare.

The Tecoma stans var. stans, a wider-leaf form of Yellow Bells, can be grown as a large shrub or small tree and is an excellent plant for screening walls or fences.

7.  Beautify the Neighborhood – The presence of trees makes your neighborhood more beautiful!

6.  Increased Property Value – Trees can add value to your home. Indicators say homes surrounded by trees can increase your home’s worth by as much as 15 percent. There’s nothing like the beauty of a well-planted property!

5.  Provide housing – Trees provide habitat for species of many kinds.

Trees are great for attracting birds, like this Verdin, which is a small bird adapted to hot desert regions.

4.  Protect Livestock – Trees reduce the speed of the wind and can also reduce turbulence, both of which can cause stress to animals. Sheltered livestock needs less feed and water and their gains can be higher. On hot summer days, the animals will seek out relief from the heat in the shade afforded by the trees.

3.  Combat the Greenhouse Effect – Global warming is the result of excess greenhouse gases, created by burning fossil fuels and destroying tropical rainforests. The heat from the sun that is reflected back from the earth is trapped in this thickening layer of gases, causing global temperatures to rise. Carbon dioxide (CO2) is a major greenhouse gas. Trees absorb CO2, removing and storing the carbon while releasing the oxygen back into the air. In one year, an acre of mature trees absorbs the amount of CO2 produced when you drive your car 26,000 miles.

2.  Filter our drinking water supply – Trees remove toxic heavy metals and other pollutants from the soil, keeping those dangerous elements from entering aquifers deep underground.

AND THE #1 REASON TO PLANT A TREE … 

Help lower your cooling and heating bills – In warm climates, a deciduous tree planted near the south or southwest corner of your home will provide cooling shade during the hotter months. Tree leaves also help cool the surrounding environment by releasing water vapor through a process called transpiration. During autumn, the leaves will fall from the tree allowing the winter sun to shine through.

In Arizona, we suggest you use low water use plants whenever possible! Visit www.QueenCreek.org/WaterGuides for an online, interactive version of Landscape Plants for the Arizona Desert or e-mail your local water conservation office to request a copy!

Not sure where to buy your new tree? Check out the Plant Something website to find a garden center near you.

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Connie Speelman is a water conservation specialist with the Town of Queen Creek, AZ, one of 20 Water – Use It Wisely partners to offer water-saving advice and programs.

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