FLORIDA — Arbor Day was started in Nebraska on April 10, 1872, as a tree-planting day. Now is a good time to plant trees and recognize the many benefits trees provide to our landscapes and communities.
Each state recognizes Arbor Day based on the best planting time for trees. Florida’s Arbor Day is the third Friday in January. National Arbor Day is celebrated on the fourth Friday in April. Planting trees now allows young trees to become established before hot spring weather arrives.
Realizing the value or benefits of trees is the first step to keeping trees as part of our landscapes and communities as this development happens.
Trees and wooded areas provide economic, social, and environmental benefits. A few of these benefits are mentioned below.
Trees provide economic benefits. In Florida, properly placed trees around buildings can result in 40 percent less cooling energy than a treeless site. Shade is only part of the reason this is true. As trees release water through their leaves (called transpiration), the air around the plant is cooled as much as nine degrees Fahrenheit.
This can result in money saved on cooling your home during Florida’s hot summers. Deciduous trees have a cooling effect during summer when they are full of leaves but allow the warming effect of the sun to shine through during winter because their leaves are gone.
Studies have shown that homebuyers are willing to pay more for homes with trees. Trees increase appraisal and sale prices. This generates higher property and transaction tax revenues. Property taxes provide the government with revenue to fund public services.
Trees provide health benefits. Research has shown that a walk-in wooded area can relieve psychological and emotional stress. Medical studies reveal that patients recover faster in facilities surrounded by trees and rooms offering views of wooded areas.
Trees provide environmental benefits. The USDA Forest Service reports that a healthy tree holds about 13 pounds of carbon annually. This reduces the level of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere. According to studies by the USDA, wooded areas reduce runoff by five to 35 percent. This helps reduce flooding and erosion and acts as a filter to improve water quality.
For additional information on trees for North Florida, visit the UF/IFAS Extension website listed below or contact the University of Florida Extension Office or the Florida Division of Agriculture and Consumer Services Division of Forestry Office in your area. http://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/TOPIC_Trees.
Larry Williams is the Extension horticulture agent with the Okaloosa County Cooperative Extension Service, University of Florida. Contact Larry at 689-5850 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.