Take a Deep Breath and Thank a Tree
June 8, 2021
We all have experienced the benefits of taking a deep breath. It helps give us focus and clarity, supports physical activities, and improves our mental state.
Even as kids we are taught to take a deep breath and count to ten when something upsets us. However, not all breaths are the same. According to a review paper by scientists at The Morton Arboretum, The Benefit of Trees for Livable and Sustainable Communities, breathing unclean air is linked to countless physical and mental health problems. This is especially true in areas with high levels of air pollution.
There is a simple, nature-based solution to reduce air pollution in cities and suburbs, where most people live, work, and play: plant trees.
A properly planted and cared-for tree can reduce local air pollution. Trees not only take air pollution up through their leaves, but it can be trapped on their surfaces, preventing the pollution from entering the lungs. The larger the tree, the more pollution it can remove. In addition, planting a variety of trees can help diversify what pollution, and the amount, that is captured.
The importance of trees for human health is backed by science. A small invasive pest called the Emerald Ash Borer demonstrated just how much trees mean to community health. This small insect killed an estimated 13 million trees in the Chicago area alone. Scientists, controlling for extraneous variables, were able to trace the emerald ash borer infestation and death of ash trees with an increase in cardiovascular and respiratory deaths in impacted communities.
Planting trees in your yard is a way to improve the quality of your air, and ultimately, the quality of your life. Keep in mind, it is all about planting the right tree in the right place, and giving it the right care. There are many resources available to help you pick the perfect tree for your yard, such as the Tree and Plant Finder, and to help you take care of it, like The Morton Arboretum Plant Clinic. You want your tree to live a long life and provide you with its benefits for years to come!