Trees: the more you know, the more reasons there are to love them.
Shade, of course, is the obvious starting point. Trees keep our picnics, patios, parking lots and homes cool. That makes trees cool.
But beyond the obvious, we're learning more and more about how valuable trees are both to the environment and our health.
Just by doing what they do standing still in the earth, trees take in carbon dioxide and produce oxygen. An average tree absorbs 26 pounds of carbon dioxide from the air each year.
By standing tall and creating shade, trees reduce the heat island effect of hot pavement in urban areas. In Davis, Calif., street trees dropped summer temps by 10 degrees.
And there's more from the research community. The ancient Japanese practice of "forest bathing" has captured interest from the medical community. It seems that the exposure to compounds and fragrances emitted from trees brings actual health benefits. Japanese medical researchers are now studying how these compounds improve immunity and fight cancer cells.
If you're more of a dollars and cents kind of person, then think about their economic value. Trees are not only the most expensive investment among landscape plants, but they appreciate over time as they grow. Individual trees can be worth thousands of dollars as they mature. That alone is one good reason to take good care of them.
So how often do you hug your trees?
Do you keep them properly pruned? That helps protect against wind and storm damage.
Do you check out possible diseases or bug infestations when things look a little off? Evaluations and treatments that are warranted can keep trees healthy and protect your property value for the long term.
Do you quench their thirst? Right now in the midst of drought, keeping trees properly watered is critical to their survival. Thirsty trees have more brittle limbs that will be more likely to break in storms - and drought-stressed trees are more susceptible to insects and disease. As with humans, hydration is the most critical component for tree health.
Becky Garber is a member of the Associated Landscape Contractors of Colorado, of which Neils Lunceford, a landscaping company, is a member. You may contact them at 970- 468-0340.