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Extension advice: Trees impact, benefit our communities in many ways
Richard Evans
Richard Evans is UGA Extension Service agent in Bryan County.

What better time to plant a tree than now, as we are finally getting some sunny pleasant weather after what has felt like weeks of rain.

Trees provide many economic, ecological and social benefits. Trees also provide cooling shade, increase property values, prevent erosion, improve water quality and enhance wildlife habitats.

Here in Bryan County, especially on the south end, we are blessed with the wonderful live oak tree. This tree is a real treasure as not many regions in the U.S. are suitable for their growth.

While we tend to discuss economic, ecological and social benefits separately, they are actually quite interrelated. A tree that is serving a role in watershed protection, also connects people to the land, provides a shaded place to walk and increases property values in the community.

Trees and forests come in a variety of forms, from forest stands to park groves to landscape specimens, and urban or suburban trees. Every tree has the natural ability to affect air currents, cool the air and shade the ground. And older, larger trees actually maximize these benefits.

The following are highlights of some of the many benefits provided by what we refer to as “urban” or “community” trees:

 1. Trees provide oxygen. A large tree can provide enough oxygen for a family of four.

2. Trees clean the air by absorbing odors and pollution, and they reduce dust, glare and heat.

3. Trees conserve energy by shading and cooling homes and buildings and breaking up urban heat islands, thereby reducing the need for air-conditioning.

4. Trees reduce water consumption and increase atmospheric moisture.

5. Trees reduce water runoff and soil erosion by breaking or slowing rainfall and holding soil.

6. Trees provide a canopy and a habitat for many forms of wildlife.

7. Trees transform barren areas and provide buffers from harsh urban landscapes.

8. Trees increase property values and improve business traffic.

9. Trees add unity, landmarks and pride to communities working together.

10. Provide protection against the increase in cancer- causing ultraviolet rays.

These are just a few of the benefits trees provide to our communities, cities and towns. Trees cannot speak for themselves, so speak up for them.

Get involved in your community and find out what you can do to preserve this precious resource.

Also, why not plant a tree at a local school, library or other public place to be enjoyed by all? Winter is an excellent time to plant deciduous and evergreen trees.

Planting a tree is also a great way to mark a significant life event, such as a birth or buying a new home.

So take an afternoon and do something good for yourself, your family and your community and plant a tree!

If you have questions about planting trees, contact me at the Bryan County Extension Service office at 912-653-2231 or

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