Trees are amazing. They reduce air conditioning needs by up to 30 per cent. They absorb carbon dioxide and release oxygen for us to breathe. They prevent soil erosion and provide habitat to many other organisms. Trees outside hospital windows can actually improve how quickly patients recover. But did you know that trees can also add thousands of dollars to the value to your home?
Studies show that trees on properties add value by increasing a home’s curb appeal and also adding to a neighbourhood’s “walkability” score. Trees have also been associated with lower crime rates and reduced tenant turnover.
Talk to your local nursery or visit the Tree Atlas at the Ministry of Natural Resources (www.mnr.gov.on.ca) to find a native tree species that will work best for your home. Native species have adapted to the Ontario climate and will thrive in our conditions. There are so many beautiful species to choose from, you’re sure to find one that suits your needs.
The best time to plant a tree is late fall, after the leaves have dropped. Early spring is the second choice, before the buds have opened. Mid-summer’s heat will make it difficult for your new tree to get enough water to thrive. Choose a level site a minimum of 10 ft. away from any structure, depending on the species you’ve selected. Avoid overheard wires and underground pipes as well. A tree on the north side is a good windbreak. A tree on the south or west will help with cooling.
Dig a hole the same depth, but three times as wide, as the tree’s root ball, removing all stones and debris. Set the tree carefully into the hold and backfill the hole with topsoil and/or compost. Water your tree thoroughly and water twice per week for 30 minutes each time for the first season. It’s a good idea to mulch your tree to retain that moisture. Your local nursery will be able to guide you in what fertilizer may be required. They may also plant the tree for you for a fee.
Take advantage of all trees have to offer and plant a tree – you’ll add value to your home and the environment.