10 Reasons to Plant a Tree–on Earth Day, or Any Day

Who’s looking for a novel way to celebrate Earth Day?  Here are ten reasons to plant a tree (or two).  It’s good for the planet and for you!

Man planting a tree.

Last fall I enjoyed harvesting and juicing wild grapes, and came away inspired to add more fruit to my young collection of berries.  So this spring, two plum, elderberry, mulberry and winterberry holly (for winter centerpieces) plants were shipped bare root from a Michigan nursery to our back yard.

A few years ago we planted some pear trees that are starting to blossom more so I am hopeful for fruit (update: they are now large and bountiful!).  And the arbor day “stick” my daughter brought home years ago escaped the lawn mower and is now about eight feet tall!  I think I’m having fun!

Tiny planted tree.

I admit that it will be a few years before we see the (ahem) fruits of our labor, but there are lots of reasons to add a tree or two to your world.  Trying to decide if there is tree-planting in your future?  Consider the following:

Ten Reasons to Plant a Tree

1.  Natural beauty/property value. Joyce Kilmer was right when she wrote “I think that I will never see, a poem as lovely as a tree.”  And if the aesthetics aren’t enough, trees increase property value!

2.  Support wildlife.  Trees provide habitat and food for wildlife.  This spring, I was delighted to spot a tiny nest in the aforementioned arbor-day-stick-turned-tree.

Brids nest in tree (2 of 10 reasons to plant a tree).

3.  Energy benefits.  The shade from deciduous trees can reduce your cooling costs in the summer—and during winter they drop their leaves to facilitate radiant heating.  Shading an air conditioner can help it operate more efficiently and evergreens can act as windbreaks.  The Sacramento Municipal Utility District even has an online tree/energy benefit calculator.

4.  Oxygen production/carbon sequestration.  Trees breathe out the oxygen that we need, then consume and store carbon dioxide, which reduces global warming.  Some sources say that planting 20 trees a year can even make you carbon neutral.

5.  Lawn reduction.  A well-manicured lawn is beautiful but can be taxing on the environment.  Between energy-gobbling, particulate-belching lawn mowers, inefficient watering and the use of chemical fertilizers/weed control, it is an environmental boon to reduce lawn by converting areas to woodland.

Tree branches.

Trees from our “lawn elimination” project

6.  Prevent erosion. A tree’s canopy slows rainfall and the roots hold soil in place.  Wikipedia tells us that “water and wind erosion are now the two primary causes of land degradation; combined, they are responsible for 84% of degraded acreage, making excessive erosion one of the most significant global environmental problems we face today.”

7.   Shade.  Just picture a summer picnic spread, laid out under a shady oak.  Or a tree lined deck with a table holding…  a) margaritas b) chocolate martinis c) sangria d) homemade lemonade.

8.  Decorating.  It doesn’t have to be all about the environment, even on Earth Day!  I use tree flowers in floral arrangements–crab apple blossoms in spring, tree hydrangeas in summer and pine branches in winter.  And I recently learned that a magnolia branch can be “forced” to produce lovely blossoms in late winter.

Magnolia Blossom "Forced" is one of ten reasons to plant a tree.

9. Air purification.  A mature tree can remove up to 240 lbs of particulate and gas pollution in a year and per Ecology Kids can clean air in four different ways!

10.  Food.  Nothing tastes as good as home grown food.  It may be a number of years before a fruit or nut tree produces, but then it’s magic!  Every year I get a wonderful harvest of mulberries and pears which I freeze and can (in wine syrup even!).  In winter I do maple syrup with just two big silver maples in our suburban yard.  

Maple syrup tapping in yard (10 or 10 reasons to plant a tree).



23 thoughts on “10 Reasons to Plant a Tree–on Earth Day, or Any Day

  1. Pingback: 10 Ways to Raise Kids Who Care About the Planet - Art of Natural Living

  2. Sarah

    Planting trees in my garden is definitely on my To Do List. I remember sitting on a ladder in the top of my grandpa’s cherry tree, just picking and munching them for hours. It was a huge tree, but sadly they cut it down to extend the house. Still miss that tree.

    1. Inger Post author

      What a great memory Sarah! I was sooo excited when my pear trees finally produced last year!

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  4. Choc Chip Uru

    A great post to encourage Earth Day – nothing could make me happier than planting a seed and seeing it grow to help the world 🙂
    Even if my thumbs are purple 😉

    Choc Chip Uru

    1. Inger Wilkerson

      Believe me I’ve had my share of failures. After starting in February, I am now finally getting my hosta seeds to sprout. Hmm, I think I can see a post in this…

  5. Louise

    I, for one, will be looking forward to that Mulberry Jam, Inger!!!

    What a wonderful Earth Day post. Cool nest too:) I haven’t planted any new trees yet but I will be in the fall. So far I’m considering the Red Bud tree. (I don’t know the botanical name) and a few fruit trees too!

    Thanks for sharing…

    1. Inger Wilkerson

      The Red Bud is supposed to be very nice. Mine didn’t survive one particularly bad winter 🙁 but I think you are a bit warmer than here. Isn’t spring wonderful?!

      1. Freeda Baker Nichols

        Yes, it is, actually. Sometimes lightning stikes one close to our house. That’s not good!

        Do you take your photos? They are nice.

        What kind of grapes are those? They look like wild grapes–sometimes called ‘possum grapes in this region.

        1. Inger Wilkerson

          Thanks–I do take my own pictures. And those are wild grapes that I picked & photographed last fall. Now that I know what to do with them, I am hoping to collect more this year and can some juice for winter.

          Watch out for that lightning! A couple years ago we had a big limb removed that overhung my daughter’s room because I kept making her climb in bed with me whenever it stormed 😉

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