Horticulturist lists benefits of adding trees to yard, landscape
Planting a tree is a forward-thinking, positive activity that some Carbon County residents may take for granted.
"Perhaps part of the problem is we live in a society more concerned with what's in it for me than doing what can benefit future generations," said Jerry Goodspeed, Utah State University Extension horticulturist. "Or perhaps too many of us have come to expect instant gratification over the idea of spending time and money to provide a generation down the road with the fruits of our labors."
Trees offer beauty throughout the year, noted Goodspeed. Right now, magnolia, cherry, plum and ornamental pear trees are in full bloom. Soon, crab apple and hawthorn trees will burst into color, followed by catalpa and horse chestnut trees. Later in the summer, golden rain and pagoda trees put on a show.
"Apart from their beauty, trees also offer shade and protection," continued Goodspeed. "On the Fourth of July, where are the choicest spots on the parade routes? Of course, in the shade of a tree that was planted many years ago. And who hasn't run to seek shelter under the umbrella-like canopy of a large maple during a sudden downpour? Trees can slow the rushing wind, quiet the noise of a busy street or block the prying eyes of a nosey neighbor."
In tough economic times, it's nice to know that trees also benefit the economy, added Goodspeed. Nurseries and garden centers appreciate consumers purchasing more trees, but homeowners also profit by planting them in their yards.
Trees have proven to reduce cooling and heating costs. And once established, trees require relatively little maintenance, allowing more time to be spent enjoying other pursuits.
"Of course, trees are also the epitome of going green," said Goodspeed. "They can be the largest provider of needed oxygen and cooling for our environment in an urban setting. As mature trees reduce cooling and heating requirements, they are conversely contributing to energy conservation."
Trees also improve the overall feeling of community by giving a sense of strength and endurance, he said. They help make homeowners feel more at "home" and connected with their surroundings. In addition, they are wonderful for climbing, hanging a swing or hammock from or lying under on a warm summer's afternoon.
And people should not forget the wildlife, said Goodspeed. Trees provide many animals and birds with food, shelter, nesting sites and observation perches.