Happy National Arbor Day, everyone! Today’s the day to get up close and personal with your favorite tree — to figure out how much cold hard cash it’s making you. Yep — in honor of this treehugger-friendly day, the Arbor Day people released a new web tool: The Tree Benefit Calculator.
Basically, this little app lets you figure out exactly how much money your favorite tree is keeping in your and your neighbor’s wallet. Put in your ZIP code so the calculator has got your climate zone, pick the type and size of your tree, select the type of area (i.e. single home residential) the tree is in, and the calculator spits out a dollar sum tabulating the monetary benefit your tree provides.
Now, I’ve got a friendly tree that shades my balcony — but to find out how much the thing was worth, I had to find out what kind of tree it was first. Luckily, the Arbor Day people have a What Tree Is That? app — available in mobile and web versions — and book form too, for old-school types. I went through the guide to figure out that my tree is a netleaf hackberry. (Or at least that’s the tree I think it is.) Above is a photo of some of its branches. Can any serious tree lovers tell me if I identified my tree correctly?
Assuming the netleaf hackberry ID is correct, my tree apparently saves me $19 every year — and raises the property value not at all. So the monetary savings aren’t that impressive, but the environmental benefits are. My tree will capture 834 gallons of stormwater runoff, conserve 209 kilowatt-hours of electricity, and reduce atmospheric carbon by135 pounds this year!
Other trees do save home owners more money. A red maple tree with a 12-inch diameter planted in a single-family residence in Washington, D.C., for example, provides $102 worth of benefits each year. So try the calculator to see what your tree is doing for your wallet. Then plant more trees for more savings.
Screenshot courtesy of arborday.org