The benefits of urban trees


1. Trees absorb carbon dioxide.

Excess carbon dioxide (CO2) is building up in our atmosphere, contributing to climate change. Trees absorb CO2, removing and storing the carbon while releasing oxygen back into the air. In one year, an acre of mature trees absorbs the same amount of CO2 produced when you drive your car 26,000 miles.   

2. Trees produce oxygen.

In one year an acre of mature trees can provide enough oxygen for 18 people.

3. Trees clean the air.

Trees intercept airborne particulates and reduce smog, enhancing a community's respiratory health.   This is super important in Long Beach which has the worst air quality of the 100 largest cities in the U.S.   The air is especially polluted around the 710 in a large swatch known as "asthma alley."

4. Trees shield children from ultra-violet rays.

Skin cancer is the most common form of cancer in the United States. Trees reduce UV-B exposure by about 50 percent, thus providing protection to children on school campuses and playgrounds - where children spend hours.  

5. Trees provide a habitat for wildlife.

Trees provide important habitats for birds, insects and animals.  Think of the magic of spotting a bird's nest in a tree and even seeing the baby birds fly for the first time.

6. Trees slow water runoff.

Flash flooding can be significantly reduced by planting trees. According to About.com, a Colorado Blue Spruce, either planted or growing wild, can intercept more than 1,000 gallons of water annually when fully grown, which helps recharge underground aquifers.

7. Trees prevent soil erosion.

A tree’s root system binds the soil and its leaves provide a barrier to the wind and rain; thus preventing soil erosion.

8. Trees help buffer noise pollution.

Trees that are planted at strategic points in a neighborhood or around your house can abate major noises. This is especially nice if you live near a freeway or airport.

9. Trees cool our homes, streets, and cities.

Have you noticed how hot, hot, hot it is getting in Long Beach? Trees can cool a city by up to 10° Fahrenheit by shading homes and streets, breaking up urban “heat islands”, and releasing water vapor into the air through their leaves.. The evaporation from a single tree can produce the cooling effect of ten room-size, residential air conditioners operating 20 hours a day.bring cooling relief to thousands of people at risk for heat waves and air pollution in a warming global climate.

10. Trees conserve energy.

Three trees placed strategically around a single-family home can cut summer air conditioning needs by up to 50 percent. By reducing the energy demand for cooling our houses, we reduce carbon dioxide and other pollution emissions from power plants. 

11. Trees are beautiful.

Trees are stunning parts of our natural landscape. From the first buds of spring to the colorful leaves in the fall, trees are gorgeous. They make a great decoration indoors or outdoors.

12. Trees provide food.

An apple tree can yield up to 15-20 bushels of fruit per year.   Aside from fruit for humans, trees provide food for birds and wildlife.

13. Trees mark the seasons.

Not sure if it is winter, spring, summer or fall?   Check the trees!

14. Trees save water.

We know it sounds counter-intuitive.  Shade from trees slows water evaporation from thirsty lawns. Most newly planted trees need only fifteen gallons of water a week. As trees transpire, they increase atmospheric moisture.

15. Trees help prevent water pollution.

Trees reduce runoff by breaking rainfall thus allowing the water to flow down the trunk and into the earth below the tree. This prevents stormwater from carrying pollutants to the ocean. When mulched, trees act like a sponge that filters this water naturally and uses it to recharge groundwater supplies.

16. Trees are excellent playmates

What can be better than sitting in a tire-swing, building a tree-house or climbing a tree for fun?

17. Trees are easier on the eye than asphalt.

Trees screen unattractive views and soften the harsh outline of masonry, metal, asphalt, steel and glass.

18. Trees make great landmarks

Trees as landmarks can give a neighborhood a new identity and encourage civic pride.