Does Planting Trees in Your Yard Help Fight Climate Change?
Ignoring climate change has become very difficult even for skeptics when the polar ice caps are melting at a faster rate, natural disasters have become more prevalent than ever. As an individual, you can take a few steps to make small changes and one of them is planting trees in your yard. You can search for “landscape companies near me” if you need professionals to help with that. Let’s check out how planting trees can help fight climate change:
- Trees in your yard help fight climate change – Planting trees in your yard is better than nothing and it certainly helps fight climate change. Trees absorb carbon dioxide and store it in their trunk and the soil. This helps to reduce carbon emissions from the air and lowers greenhouse gasses that raise the planet’s temperature.
NASA data estimates that humans need to plant around 2.2 billion hectares of forest to reduce carbon emissions by around 25 percent. It’s not an impressive number like oceans that absorb around 90 percent of carbon emissions and get acidified. However, more trees on land lead to a healthier ocean and a healthier environment.
- How many trees? – NASA estimates that around 900 million hectares of land are required to reduce a quarter of carbon emissions on the planet. While that number seems mind-boggling, let’s do some math for a better perspective. Around 2 percent of US land is wasted on lawns. That’s around 50000 square miles or over 12 million hectares. Now that’s just 2 percent of the land in the US.
Think about what may happen when everyone with a backyard on the globe plants more trees. Moreover, lawns consume a lot of water and energy to stay in the form of a beautiful patch of green. When you replace them with indigenous plants and trees you offset even more carbon emissions. Let’s check out which trees you should have in your yard to fight climate change.
- Black walnut – Black walnut trees can grow around 50 to 75 feet tall with an equally wide canopy. They can live up to two centuries and with that kind of lifespan, they can keep absorbing carbon long after you’re gone. They are also native to the US central and eastern states and if you live in one of those areas you can grow it with the least amount of maintenance. Moreover, they produce walnuts that are nutritious and taste incredible.
- Douglas-fir – The Douglas-fir is a classic American pine and also the state tree of Oregon. It has cone-shaped branches when it’s young and as it matures the branches take a pyramid shape. Apart from their high carbon-absorbing potential they also create fragrant cones that can be used to decorate festive baskets and can also be used as a natural deodorizer. However, you should avoid them if you have dry soil.
- American sweetgum – There’s no reason to sacrifice landscape design when you want to fight climate change. These trees have star-shaped leaves that turn all shades of red, yellow, and purple. The leaves also stay for a longer time on the branches and create a beautiful spectacle throughout the change of seasons. It bears a spike-shaped fruit that will quickly take over an abandoned ground. It’s great for homeowners who have a large property and want a tree to grow, spread and multiply quickly.
- Blue spruce – Blue spruce are best for those who live in cold mountain climates. They can be massive and are found in wide varieties. Among them, the blue spruce is native to Colorado and their size makes them great carbon absorbers and windbreakers. If you plant them carefully, you can also use them as natural fences. They thrive in well-drained soil with plenty of sunlight. The tree can also tolerate dry wind drafts and is slightly drought resistant.
- Balsam fir – Balsam fir is narrower than Douglas-fir and grows dark emerald needles along their thick branches. If you live in cold weather with acidic soil, it is one of the best trees for your property. However, they are versatile enough to grow on swamps, mountainsides, valleys, and more such tough regions.
- Quaking aspen – These trees grow quickly with mesmerizing foliage and would become the focal point of your landscape. During the fall season, the leaves turn bright yellow right before falling off the branches. The tree spreads its footprint by sending out shoots from its roots. That makes them very efficient at populating an area compared to their seed-spreading cousins.
- Tulip tree – Tulip trees are relatives of magnolias with exquisitely shaped flowers. These trees can grow as tall as 120 feet. That’s why they aren’t fit for urban or even suburban settings. However, if you have a large property, this is a great match.
Apart from their enticing flowers attracting plenty of pollinators to your yard, they also spread a great fragrance around them. Spending some time under this tree is nothing short of therapy. However, their roots don’t spread out very far and that means they need to be fed a lot of resources artificially during the initial stages of growth.
- Oak – Oak trees live long and grow large by absorbing an astonishing amount of carbon from the air. They are abundant throughout the continental US and found in many varieties. That means you can always get a variety that perfectly suits your climate and soil. You can start growing them in a pot so that they are protected from hungry animals during the initial stages. If you plant a sapling in your yard, make sure to build a cage around the plant to prevent animals from nibbling on it.
While planting trees in your yard isn’t enough to completely offset climate change, it’s certainly a step in the right direction. Apart from that, you can reduce consumption, use less plastic, dispose of waste responsibly and take other such steps. To get help planting trees in your yard you can hire professionals by searching for “landscape companies near me”.