fbpx This summer, savor the shade | The Morton Arboretum

This summer, savor the shade

July 16, 2014

There’s no better place to be on a hot August day than the shade of a tree. It’s cool and green, full of music from the rustling of leaves and the song of birds. No stress can last long under a tree.

It’s true. Researchers have documented many ways that trees lift our spirits and help our health.

Visits to forests and parks help people feel less stressed and give them a sense of being well-balanced. People in hospitals who have a view of trees heal faster and with fewer complications.

People walk and run more on streets with trees, studies have found. Leafy streets encourage outdoor play and relaxation, which leads to more interaction with neighbors. Maybe that’s part of the reason that homes and neighborhoods with mature trees have higher property values.

Trees help our pocketbooks in other ways too. For example, they can save on our energy bills.

Trees that are well-placed around our homes and other buildings cast shade so it takes less energy to cool our homes in summer. It’s been calculated that strategically placed trees save up to 56 percent on annual air-conditioning costs.

More cooling comes as trees allow water to evaporate through pores in their leaves.  The U.S. Department of Agriculture says the net cooling effect of a young, healthy tree is equivalent to 10 room-size air conditioners operating 20 hours a day.

What would summer be without trees? Hotter. So let’s enjoy the shade of the trees we have and protect them for summers to come.