By: BW Ellis

This article comes from a collection of illustrations, poetry, and prose called Tree Souls, currently under development. See sample pages here:

When you see trees lining the streets imagine them as guardians, stalwart defenders ever vigilant. Consider the threats and dangers these sentries defend against, the long-term elements of life they produce and protect.

The air you breathe, the water in your yard, the shade that keeps you cool, and the canopy that breaks the wind that strikes your home. These are the easy values to see, the smell and feel of them are as undeniable to the mind as they are calming to the heart.

The values you don’t feel or see are just as important, neighborhoods with trees enjoy a higher value than similar neighborhoods without them. The difference in property value is measurable and accumulative for the entire area. This is when the value of the tress is hidden in the value of your property.

The Council of Tree and Landscape Appraisers estimates a mature tree can have a value of between $1,000 and $10,000. Portland, Oregon enjoys a $1.1 billion increase in the overall value of the homes in their city, an average of $7,020 for each house.

The value of these guardians to a city or a community is greater than the market value or the cleansing of our air, the savings in cooling or the deluge of water that is recovered. Despite all of the things that trees bring us, the greatest thing is the appreciation of nature they instruct our children every day. The trees become a symbol of home and the warmth of a place in balance with nature.

A tree on its own is a marvel, even wonder in many ways, but a forest, a standing of trees, parks filled with them, backyards and front yards patches of green in between with great wooden spires. The benefits of a single tree become many times more in a stand of trees or a forest of diverse and complementary species. 

Having these expanded areas of nature around us do nothing but good for the community, for the health and wellbeing of the people who live there. Empty lots with nothing but garbage and grass, patches of dirt between sidewalk and street, every nook and cranny with a patch of soft earth, these are the places of potential all around you.

With the value of street trees present on the minds of all who plan and work, build and demolish, the will to plant as many trees as possible would result in something wonderful.