Trees provide an extraordinary group of benefits to our community.  Most people have a tree they think of when they think “Tree”. Maybe it was the neighborhood climbing tree, or a tree with low foliage you could hide in, the tree that shaded the bus stop, or the street tree you parked your first car under to keep it cool. You probably think of the fun days playing hide and seek or the shady picnic spot in your favorite park.

Trees are linked to better health. Research has found that trees prevent $7 billion in health costs every year by filtering air pollution—not to mention their psychological effects. The closer you live to trees, the better off you are. It is becoming increasingly clear that trees help people live longer, healthier, happier lives. 

t-b-1Trees benefit our children. Schools with trees help kids concentrate on their school work. Trees promote healthy and positive behaviors, reducing aggression and bullying on campus. When children play in shaded areas they have a lower lifetime risk of skin cancer. Trees in our open spaces invite children to explore, a vital element in their mental and physical growth.

Trees reduce energy use.  In the summer, planting trees to shade buildings minimizes the need for air conditioning. Additionally trees cool entire neighborhoods by releasing moisture into the air and shading surfaces such as black roads, paved areas and parking lots that would otherwise hold heat creating “Heat Islands”.  Without the shade, small differences in temperature can add up to a huge increase in energy demand. On hot days, California’s electrical grid is running close to maximum.  During peak loads, utilities run “peaker” plants to generate electricity. Peakers discharge power when needed during peak-demand periods and can be more polluting than other plants. In the winter, trees can help reduce heating costs by slowing the wind.

Trees sequester carbon. Just by living and growing, trees do a lot to improve our lives. Trees provide oxygen for us to breathe. They absorb carbon dioxide and release oxygen as they live and grow. Trees store carbon in their trunk, roots and canopy. A large tree can absorb and sequester thousands of pounds of carbon dioxide during its life. Small trees and shrubs help, but large trees do the heavy lifting.

t-b-2Trees improve air quality and reduce pollution.  Trees physically intercept particulate matter and absorb gasses through their leaves. This reduces ground level ozone, which is a serious problem in our area during the summer. Tree shade helps keep fuel from evaporating from vehicles, further reducing air pollution.

t-b-3Trees clean our stream water and reduce storm water runoff.  Trees absorb and hold onto various pollutants. Since cities have lots of impervious surfaces more water runs off and goes into storm drains.  Water entering storm drains is often carrying pollutants such as oil and fertilizer.  Storm drains empty directly into streams. Trees hold onto rain on their leaves, twigs and bark and help the water soak in or evaporate instead of running off.  This reduces water runoff during storms and reduces local flooding.

t-b-4Trees enhance wildlife habitat.  Shaded streams are better for fish because the water stays cooler. RUFF has partnered with the City of Roseville Open Space Division to plant trees to shade fish habitat in Roseville. As the trees grow, their shade will make a better environment for aquatic wildlife.

Trees increase property values and build strong communities. Street trees help slow traffic on streets, making a safer, more pleasant neighborhood.  Neighborhoods with shaded streets are highly desired by home buyers. Neighborhoods with trees have reduced violence and increased positive relations between neighbors. Trees are good for business, because people prefer to shop and do business in landscaped, shaded business districts. People perceive that shops with landscaping carry higher quality items and shop longer in those areas. This can increase gross sales by up to 12%