Every day, it feels like more and more buildings are going up, stores are being built, and sections of trees are getting cut down to make room for warehouses. It is a shame that we are losing so much of our natural beauty. Most people don’t realize, however, that it is more than that. There have been movements to plant trees in all major cities around the world because urban trees are vital to the health and safety of people who live in those cities and the people who visit them.

Beyond planting these trees, we need to ensure that they are healthy. Too often, trees are neglected and then they slowly die, not providing the good that we need. Why should you be worried about not only planting urban trees, but maintaining them? Here are some good reasons:

Filters Urban Pollution

  • Increases biodiversity
  • Trees absorb CO2
  • Can help to regulate water flow

Trees are so important to help filter out pollution. Even though cities aren’t as filled with smog as they were years ago, we still know that all of that traffic cannot be good for our bodies. Our lungs absorb the toxins, it settles into our skin, and we just generally have more interactions with potentially hazardous chemicals and toxins.

According to the Food and Agricultural Organization of the United Nations, “Large trees are excellent filters for urban pollutants and fine particulates. They absorb pollutant gases (such as carbon monoxide, nitrogen oxides, ozone and sulfer oxides) and filter fine particulates such as dust, dirt or smoke out of the air by trapping them on leaves and bark.”

For cleaner air and water, urban trees are absolutely necessary.

Improves Health of Citizens

  • Trees help mental health
  • Cleaner air helps those with respiratory illnesses
  • Help reduce urban noise

One of the biggest worries that public health professionals have for the trend of big city living is that people are not getting sleep that is as restful. While most people think that they do sleep through the night, they are actually getting woken up without remembering it. Planting urban trees can help to absorb and reduce some of that noise. If you’ve ever looked at expensive parts of town, it is likely that there are more trees there for this very reason.

According to Smart Cities Dive, trees can also help to provide shade and protect citizens from harmful UV rays, reduce smog formation, and can even have an impact on cancer rates. While we cannot prove all of these things, sometimes correlation is enough to make planting trees a priority.

Reduce Soil Erosion

Credit: Lima Pix

  • Helps soil stay in place during rainy months
  • Helps with groundwater recharge
  • Reduces wind erosion of soil

While most cities don’t have a lot of soil sitting around, the soil is still important. When trees are planted, there is a decreased risk of soil erosion during cold or rainy months. The water that pools on the ground is quickly absorbed into the root system and put to use. We all know how water pools all over cities, so even a slight reduction is helpful.

Studies have even shown that trees take the brunt of the damage from winds, so the soil doesn’t get blown around the city (another benefit for us).

Additionally, according to the South Carolina Forestry Commission, “Without trees, cities would need to increase sewage and storm water drainage channels and .waste – treatment capacities to handle increased water runoff.”

People Who Live Near Trees May Be More Peaceful

Credit: Rob Oo

  • Trees reduce stress levels
  • People who feel better are more peaceful
  • Residents who have trees take better care of their properties

People who live near trees are more peaceful and tend to have closer relationships with their neighbors, according to a recent report from The Guardian. There are many reasons why this could be the case, but it could be because of everything else on this list. People who feel better and are happier just tend to be more peaceful. They take things a bit easier, take their time, and spend some time actually enjoying their spaces.

Additionally, those who live near trees actually take better care of their yards and spend more time outside. In a world where so many people are staying inside, it has impacted our mental health quite a bit. Even spending an extra five minutes outside is enough to make people feel better and calmer.

Trees Help Animals That Have Run Out Of Space

Credit: Simon

  • Urban flight is a real threat
  • Helps create more biodiversity
  • Provide shelter, food, and mating opportunities

One of the biggest problems we face in the world today is that we are running out of room for certain animals. In North America alone, there have been terrifying reports about the number of animals that we’ve lost – particularly birds. When trees are planted in urban environments, even just a singular tree on a road, some animals will have a place to call home.

When trees are planted in groups, entire ecosystems can come back to the area. According to the Alameda Sun, these animals help to keep everything else that is green healthy. On top of being visually beautiful, green areas that take care of themselves actually help taxpayers keep their rates down – the localities don’t have to do as much.

We need to care about our animal friends. After all, they are part of the “circle of life” that we have on this planet. In order for us to succeed, they must as well.

If you are looking for a tree care professional in Southern Ontario, give Van Till Tree Care a call today at (705) 653-3777. We will help you to better understand your trees and advise you on particular issues such as green spots, pruning trouble, or soil problems. We can help you with many other issues that you might find among your trees – from the very top of the tree to the roots, no matter how old they are.

Header photo courtesy of  Santhosh Janardhanan on Flickr!

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