Most trees and shrubs in cities or communities are planted to provide beauty or shade. These are two excellent reasons for their use. Woody plants also serve many other purposes, and it often is helpful to consider these other functions when selecting a tree or shrub for the landscape. The benefits of trees can be grouped into social, communal, environmental, and economic categories.

Social Benefits

We like trees around us because they make life more pleasant. Most of us respond to the presence of trees beyond simply observing their beauty. We feel serene, peaceful, restful, and tranquil in a grove of trees. We are "at home" there.

Communal Benefits

Even though trees may be private property, their size often makes them part of the community as well. With proper selection and maintenance, trees can enhance and function on one property without infringing on the rights and privileges of neighbors. City trees often serve several architectural and engineering functions. They provide privacy, emphasize views, or screen out objectionable views.

Environmental Benefits

Trees alter the environment in which we live by:

  • Conserving water
  • Harboring wildlife
  • Improving air quality
  • Moderating climate

Economic Benefits

The economic benefits of trees can be both direct and indirect. Direct economic benefits are usually associated with energy costs. The indirect economic benefits of trees are available to the community or region. Lowered electric City bills are paid by customers when power companies are able to:

  • Build fewer new facilities to meet peak demands 
  • Use fewer measures to control air pollution
  • Use less water in their cooling towers 
  • Use reduced amounts of fossil fuel in their furnaces

New Tree Planting

Think of the tree you just purchased as a lifetime investment. How well your tree, and investment, grows depends on the type of tree and location you select for planting. The care you provide when the tree is planted, and follow-up care the tree receives after planning is important. View the Tree Guide below for planting instructions and other important information regarding tree planting and tree care.

Related Documents

Street Tree Guide

Street Tree Planting Permit Application

Street Tree Removal Permit Application