Making Your Money Grow

Tree branches and leaves with fall colorMost families I know are looking for ways to save or make their money grow. Yet one of the most overlooked places to make a solid investment may be right in your own backyard in the form of a tree. Whether you plan to stay in your home, or sell it down the road, the addition of good landscaping and trees in particular, will add value while they save you money in the meantime. If you think about it, it makes sense. Cars, furniture, computers, and other things all depreciate the minute you purchase them and take them home. Trees increase in value the minute they are planted and will increase in value as they mature. The hard facts are tough to ignore.

Homes with attractive, appropriate landscaping sell for an average of 10-30% more than those that are not well landscaped. This means if your home is appraised at $200,000 the addition of three mature trees may increase the value by $20,000 plus.

Trees are cool. Homes shaded by trees have 10-30 percent savings in air conditioning costs compared to those without shade. Trees which are properly placed around buildings can result in a 20-50 percent savings in energy for that building. A healthy tree cools the air equivalent to 10 room sized air conditioners operating 20 hours a day, according to the USDA.

Plant a deciduous tree (one that loses its leaves each fall) and the leaves will shade windows and your home in the summer. When the leaves fall in the winter, the sunlight will help to warm your home.

Trees can lower your grocery bills. Fruit trees provide apples, peaches, pears, cherries, and other natural flavors to grace your kitchen table. The savings at the grocery store can be significant, especially if you have a large family.

The average value of a street tree in the US is $525.

Planting trees means improved water quality. Less runoff and erosion allows more recharging on the ground water supply. Wooded areas also help prevent the transport of sediment and chemicals into streams.

Trees make you healthy. One acre of forested area absorbs six tons of carbon dioxide and puts out four tons of oxygen. And in laboratory research, visual exposure to trees has produced significant recovery from stress within five minutes as indicated in blood pressure and muscle tension. So if you are spending money on tranquilizers, save it. Consider a tree instead.

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