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The Benefits of Trees and Keeping Them Healthy in Multi Housing Landscape

By Greg Williams, ISA Certified Arborist - YTS Companies

Green trees on both sides line a residential street with a cloudy blue sky overhead.

Our winter has come to an end with spring weather upon us. One of the first signs of spring are trees opening their buds and new leaves developing. The tree canopies gradually fill with green foliage, producing shade, oxygen and beauty. Trees are an extremely valuable entity and offer tremendous benefits to our communities.

Benefits of trees can be broken down into three broad categories: ECONOMIC, ENVIRONMENTAL and SOCIAL.

Economic Benefits

  • Trees are an asset to your property, and they have a real dollar value. Healthy small to medium size trees such as Oaks, Lindens, Maples, Spruce and Pines have a value of $900 to $1800. As they mature into healthy larger trees their value increases from $5000 to $10,000 per tree. Healthy mature trees add an average of 10% to a property’s value.\

Environmental Benefits

  • Trees are our greatest warriors combating climate change. Trees absorb carbon dioxide, removing and storing the carbon while releasing oxygen back into the air.

  • Trees clean the air. They absorb odors and pollutant gasses and filter particles out of the air by trapping them in their leaves and bark.

  • Trees help prevent erosion. On hillsides or stream slopes, trees slow water runoff and hold soil in place.

  • Trees restore the ecological cycles of plant growth, reproduction and decomposition both above and below ground, and natural harmony is restored to the environment.

Social Benefits

  • Our response to trees goes well beyond simply observing their beauty. We feel serene, peaceful, restful and tranquil in a grove of trees.

  • Because of their potential for a long life, trees are frequently planted as living memorials.

  • Trees can mask concrete walls or parking lots and block unsightly views. They muffle the sound from nearby streets and freeways and create eye-soothing canopy of green for the community.

While trees offer many valuable benefits, they won’t stay completely healthy on their own-specifically in Urban Forestry settings where trees are exposed to much more stressful conditions than natural forests and rural settings. The higher the stress on trees the more susceptible they are for disease and insect issues. In the Midwest trees are susceptible to a variety of disease and insects that target select tree species, but this can be managed if diagnosed and treated properly. A diagnosis by ISA Certified Arborist is suggested.

When a tree is in poor condition, it’s more than likely past the stage to invest money into treatments. The sooner homeowners communicate to an arborist that a tree appears stressed or sickly the better chance to correct the issue with proper treatment. We never recommend investing good money into poor condition trees.

Common Tree Services in Multi Housing Landscape

Trees need to be maintained for pruning and depending on the species disease and insect protection. It’s common in most multi housing developments that trees are planted too close to buildings, structures, driveways, streets, and other trees. It’s unfortunate that the landscape plan for planting trees isn’t more thought out and proactive for when trees mature.  Homeowners are left with more frequent pruning rotations to protect their homes and vehicles from tree branch damage. Standard tree pruning is considered canopy clearance where we typically provide clearance of buildings, driveways, sidewalks, streets and lawn areas for better mowing clearance. While pruning for clearance, we include dead, diseased and broken branches.

Tree pruning and removals are the highest priority for HOA’s to budget for and if ash trees are present and in good condition, they will need to be protected from emerald ash borer as a high priority as well. The following list are some of the more common disease and insect treatments for trees in the Midwest.

  • Apple Scab fungal disease control in crabapple trees

  • Japanese Beetle control on crabapple, linden, birch and elm trees

  • Emerald Ash Borer in ash trees (trees won’t survive without treatment)

  • Dutch Elm disease in American elm trees

  • Two-lined Chestnut Borer in oak trees

  • Dothistroma and Diplodia Tip Blight in pine trees

  • Needle Cast (Rhizosphaera) fungal disease in select spruce trees

  • Cedar-Hawthorn Rust in Hawthorn trees

This is a relatively short list of some of the most common tree disease and insect control treatments.

Cultural Practices

Some common tree related items to be mindful of each spring for the health of trees,

  • Don’t install mulch high up on the trunk as this can rot the bark and cause damage

  • Remove tight poly tree protectors or that can trap water and damage the bark

  • Remove tree stakes once the root ball is solid in the ground. (no more than 1 year mounted)

  • Frequently water newly installed trees several times per week for 1-2 months

YTS Companies is an 18-year old company that is accredited and has a sales staff of ISA Certified Arborists. We are a full-service tree company providing services throughout the twin cities. Please contact your property manager at Gassen Companies for more information.

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