Those Amazing Trees

If you thought this summer was hot, sticky and are hoping that next year the weather is just a little more balanced, then you might want to think about one of the most natural air coolants out there:

The tree.

Simply put, if we had more of them left, we would have more opportunities to experience their amazing powers of cooling and shading.

Think I’m exaggerating?  Well here are a few interesting facts about trees that I learned from the David Suzuki Foundation email newsletter this week:

  • Each tree can absorb up to 400 litres of water from the ground and emit it into the air through transpiration, causing a cooling effect on the surrounding area
  • Every 343 trees planted per square kilometre can cut child asthma rates by 25% (University of Columbia)
  • Trees situated by buildings reduce that building’s need for air conditioning by one-third, by acting as a wind break (U.S. Forestry Service)
  • Mature tree canopies can cut the air temperature in urban areas by five to ten degrees Celsius (University of Washington, Centre for Urban Horticulture)

And if that isn’t enough to convince you how valuable trees can be, here are a few more things to consider:

  • It only takes two mature trees to meet the annual oxygen needs of a family of four (Save a Tree)
  • Trees help prevent soil erosion by stabilizing the soil with their roots (Trees are Good)
  • The soil stability caused by a trees roots also allows a beneficial climate for healthy microorganisms to grow, thus improving the soil quality (NC State University)

So there you have it.  Trees are good for cooling the area, excellent at providing us with fresh air to breathe, and incredible at keeping our soil and gardens healthy.  It makes me all the more appreciative of our little plum and cherry tree that have settled into their new homes in our backyard.  They may be tiny at the moment, but when Little Man is grown and has little ones of his own, those fruit trees will be there to provide them with some much-needed shade from the summer heat.

It reminds me of something I read recently:

“A society grows great when old men plant trees whose shade they know they will never sit in.” (Greek proverb)

I’m appreciating those “old men” very much on a hot day like today.

Further Reading

Ncsu.edu (2000) Untitled Document. [online] Available at: http://www.ncsu.edu/project/treesofstrength/treefact.htm [Accessed: 27 Jul 2012].

Savatree.com (2000) Tree Facts | Facts About Trees. [online] Available at: http://www.savatree.com/tree-facts.html [Accessed: 27 Jul 2012].

Treesaregood.com (2009) Trees Are Good – Fun Facts About Trees. [online] Available at: http://www.treesaregood.com/funfacts/Environment.aspx [Accessed: 27 Jul 2012].

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