What’s that tree really worth? Just check the tag

Chicago, IL (April 20, 2012)- Everyone can appreciate the beauty and shade that a tree provides, but their actual value is much more than just aesthetic, according to experts at the Morton Arboretum. In celebration of Arbor Day, arboretum staff, joined by hundreds of volunteers, placed green tags Friday on about 1,500 trees in Chicago and another 2,000 in several western suburbs, aimed at pointing out the dollar value of trees in terms of environmental benefits.

The tagging is part of the arboretum’s Arbor Day celebration, “Every Tree Counts,” which started with the tagging and culminates with a full day of activities on Arbor Day, April 27. The U.S. Forest Service estimates that a 20-year-old tree in a public parkway returns about $96 per year in energy savings, stormwater runoff reduction, cleaner air and increased property values for every $36 spent on planting and routine care such as mulching or pruning, a statement from the arboretum said.

On private property, the value is even greater, estimated at $102 annually in energy savings for every $15 spent on planting and maintenance. And the real beauty of trees is that they grow more valuable each year, in terms of: Cleaning air by producing oxygen and filtering pollutants; providing shade to cut energy costs in summer; removing carbon dioxide, a greenhouse gas, from the air and storing it for as long as the tree lives; and catching rainwater and decreasing the amount of water flowing into stormwater sewers.

Tree values vary by size, species and age of the trees, according to the arboretum. They are computed for an individual tree by entering the size and species into a National Tree Benefit Calculator. You can use the calculator by visiting the arboretum website. Or just check the tags, which are now in place on trees in Chicago, Glen Ellyn, Glendale Heights, Lombard, Wheaton, Downers Grove, Lisle and Naperville.

If that sounds a little hard to figure in financial terms, look at it this way: the Forest Service estimates each large tree in your front yard increases your home’s value by 1 percent, according to the arboretum. The tagging program was co-sponsored by the communities involved, Morton Salt, BMO Harris Bank and The Davey Tree Experts.

Related Resources:
What’s that tree really worth? Just check the tag
The Morton Arboretum
National Tree Benefit Calculator
US Forest Service
Two groups ring up dollar value of local trees
Tree Price Tag Campaign Meets Twitter