Big old residential house with big tree stems in front

Maximize the Benefits of Trees in Your Yard

It’s hard to deny that trees make life at home sweeter. Aside from their natural beauty, they also purify the air and can trim homeowners’ energy bills by providing shade in the summer and a buffer from winter’s blustery winds.

Trees enhance neighborhoods too. Residential areas with trees enjoy less noise pollution than tree-bare areas. Trees also encourages birds, bees, butterflies, and other wildlife to inhabit residential areas.

Adding Trees to Your Property

Like any major home improvement, purchasing and planting trees is an investment. However, there are several significant issues to consider to make the best landscaping decisions.

1. Research First, Plant Second

Before you purchase a tree (or remove an existing one), you may want to get expert advice. Arborists (tree specialists), reputable local nurseries, the US Forestry Service, or your local agricultural extension agent can all be of assistance.

To learn more about planning, selecting, and caring for current and future trees, you may want to review the USDA Forest Service’s printable guide, The Tree Owner’s Manual.

Although selecting a tree for your yard is essentially a matter of personal preference, it’s also essential to choose among varieties that are hardy, disease-resistant, and suited to your planting zone.

Trees native to your area will be naturally hardier and tend to require less care and maintenance.

2. Avoid Trouble

Steer clear of planting trees in locations that will grow into overhead power lines or where electric, gas, cable, water, or sewer lines may be buried underground. Your local utility companies can assist in identifying hidden hazards.

Trees with shallow or above-ground roots can make it more difficult to mow your lawn and could damage sidewalks, patios, and driveways. In addition, some trees are particularly susceptible to diseases and pests, while others have aggressive roots that can invade sewer lines and damage foundations.

Avoid planting smaller tree varieties less than 15 feet from your home. Additional distance is needed for some larger trees and those with a broad canopy of leaves.

3. Protect Your Investment

Tree and landscaping professionals can compile a valuation of your trees, bushes, and other landscape plantings, but that doesn’t mean your investment will be covered by insurance. Typically, homeowners insurance only covers damage to your home from a falling tree.

Check with your insurance agent to ensure you have adequate coverage since many policies limit the loss of any tree (or shrub) to $500. In contrast, others may limit landscaping coverage to a percentage of the insurance on the dwelling.

A valuation and a call to your insurance agent will help you determine if you need additional coverage and how much it will cost to protect your landscaping. Know before you need it.

Recent photos of your yard will be helpful should a situation occur that damages your trees or landscaping.

Trees’ Impact on Selling Your Home

Most homeowners care about the outdoor appearance of their property, especially if they decide to sell. Trees play a significant role in curb appeal and can help attract buyers.

In research of buyers, sellers, and real estate trends conducted by the National Association of REALTORS® (NAR), it is notable that 30% of buyers in rural areas considered a wooded lot or property having many trees to be very important.

NAR also found that 20% of buyers in all areas consider wooded or heavily tree-populated property an important consideration in their decision to buy.

According to the US Department of Agriculture, each large front yard tree adds to a home’s sale price. The actual amount was estimated in a 2010 study by PNW Research Station, which determined that “trees growing in front or near a house added an average of $8,870 to its sale price and reduced its time on the market by nearly two days.”

Beyond owning trees, the health of trees on your property can be an critical aspect when it’s time to sell. Therefore, you may want to contact an arborist to inspect your trees before placing your home on the market. A clean inspection report from a certified arborist might provide an additional selling point when marketing your home to tree-loving potential buyers!