The importance of trees

Horticulture Hints

One of the most recognized benefit of trees that of providing shade to the home landscape. But actually, trees do a great deal more for our environment than just that of temperature control.

Trees not only provide aesthetic beauty, but increase property values, define boundaries, perform vital roles in contributing to cleaner air, carbon sequestration, and serve as habitats for wildlife.

Many times, memorial trees are planted to mark important life events, such as births or passages. What a great way for memories to continue, by planting a remembrance tree in honor of a loved one.

Childhood memories of trees may include a neighborhood treehouse, climbing or a falling from a tree, retrieving a lost cat, or perhaps even carving special initials in the bark.

Ice coated tree branches with frost make great Christmas cards photos, but winter storms may also cause the loss of weakened branches during stormy weather. Perhaps you may recall memories of a surviving a winter storm with days of power loss due to these same beautiful branches falling on electrical lines?

Now is the time to observe your landscape trees for any weakened branches which may be hazardous. Once leaves have fallen is the best time to take access of tree structure to inspect for any defects that may be present.

Unfortunately, removal of old landmark trees or those threatened by pests or disease, such as the emerald ash borer, will leave our landscapes barren, unless steps are taken. For any tree removed, plan to plant a replacement tree (or two!) for our future generations to enjoy. Contact your local ISU Extension Office for a listing of recommended replacement trees for Iowa landscapes.

Did you know? With smaller home landscapes, one should not choose trees that will grow too large and overwhelm, which can make a home look even smaller and out of proportion. But also be aware that installing trees that are too small will also be out of proportion and thus serve to make a home appear even smaller.

Gardening questions? Contact McCormick at for information or advice