Plant more trees for a greener future

Planting trees is an investment in the future. Beyond the obvious benefits of providing shade and enhancing the natural beauty of our surroundings, trees help improve our communities and our world in an abundance of ways.

Trees take time to grow, but with proper care, after a few good seasons, a mature tree becomes a living air purifier. According to the Arbor Day Foundation, a mature tree can absorb 120 to 240 pounds of particulate pollution every year. They reduce atmospheric sulfur dioxide and hydrocarbon emissions and absorb heavy metals.

When it comes to trees, bigger is better. The experts say large mature trees absorb 60 to 70 times more pollution from the environment than smaller trees.

The Arbor Day Foundation has set a goal of planting 100 million trees worldwide by 2022, the 150th anniversary of the establishment of Arbor Day. The organization hopes to enlist 5 million new tree planters, urging them to plant trees at home, participate in community tree planting projects and support reforestation programs wherever they are needed.

Trees 6 to 8 feet tall, planted around a home or building, can shade windows during their first year. Within five to 10 years, they can also help shade rooflines, reducing cooling costs and energy use. Dense evergreens can serve as windbreaks, diffusing frigid breezes.

Be sure to select a location that will not interfere with utility lines both in the air and underground. A local nursery or your county agricultural extension service can make recommendations on the best trees for your landscaping based upon growing conditions, space and design goals.