Tree varieties provide many benefits

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    Fruit trees among arugula, milkweed and other native plants.

    The Blade/Jetta Fraser
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  • By now, you probably have recognized that I love trees!

    As a matter of fact, I don’t discriminate — I really love all plants, well almost all of them. There are a few that I despise. Hint — those darn invasive species that behave badly and take over at the expense of plants that we want. The bad actors, as I like to refer to them, include tree-of-heaven (Ailanthus altissima), oriental bittersweet (Celastrus orbiculatus), Japanese knotweed (Fallopia japonica), Japanese honeysuckle (Lonicera japonica), callery pear (Pyrus calleryana), and common reed (Phragmites australis). But back to the positives of plants, specifically trees in today’s column.

    I find it amazing the “benefits” that trees provide. Because you are reading a garden column, you too probably love trees. It is hard to understand why people would not love trees. Some of you may not like raking leaves, but that really is a small price to pay for what trees do for us.

    While the list is numerous, here is just a quick list of what trees can provide:

    ■ Protection from wind and noise

    ■ Shade from the sun

    ■ Privacy

    ■ Wood for building

    ■ Firewood for heating

    ■ Food and habitat for wildlife

    ■ Sources of pollen and nectar for bees and other pollinators

    ■ Amplified aesthetics

    ■ Increased property alues

    ■ Water absorption and reduction of run-off

    ■ Oxygen for breathing

    Every tree has its preferred growing conditions. Matching trees to the site will ultimately grow success. Some plants are more forgiving and will adapt to conditions. Know the site and its characteristics and choose plants accordingly. It is also important for gardeners to realize there can be variation even among the same genus or plant groups.

    If I had to choose between a tree produced and grown in our region, compared to one growing in a southern climate — I would lean toward the local. I could actually focus an entire column on a term called provenance, or the place of origin as it relates to plants.

    In this case, the word provenance doesn’t necessarily mean where the plant originally came from or its native range, but where the source of the parent plant was from.

    Value of Trees

    Did you know you can find the yearly value of benefits a tree or trees provide to you online at i-Tree? The i-Tree program was conceived and developed by Casey Tree and Davey Tree Expert Co. in cooperation with the U.S. Forest Service and it is constantly being updated. While there are many tools within i-Tree it is important to know that is built upon peer-reviewed, public-domain science, and it is free. Tools include: Eco, Landscape, and Canopy for forests and many trees, and Design and MyTree for individual and small amounts of trees.

    I would recommend that you use MyTree or Design for most. All you need to know is the location of the tree, the type of tree and the DBH or diameter at breast height. You put this information into the website and your tree will be assigned a yearly value based on the current size and condition. Visit

    I wanted to walk you through a quick example. The tree I picked is a Dawn redwood (Metasequoia glyptostroboides). The tree measures 40 inches in diameter. That measurement is taken 4½ feet up from the ground and referred to as DBH. The total benefits for the year is $60.73. This tree will intercept 6,213 gallons of rainfall. Pretty interesting information.

    There is a saying money doesn’t grow on trees. While you can’t pick money off of trees, they do pay us in many ways. What monetary benefits do the trees in your yard provide? As much as I love trees, I would love to hear how much the value of the benefits trees are providing you. Reach out to me via email or on Facebook.

    Amy Stone is an extension educator with the Ohio State Extension – Lucas County, Agriculture and Natural Resources.

    Contact her at: