Why plant street trees?
Why do we take the time and trouble to plant and maintain trees in our crowded streets?
Street trees provide social, economic and environmental benefits, including:
- shade in places where people gather to meet and relax
- a safety zone between traffic and people (vehicle speeds are also lower in tree-lined streets)
- help to reduce air pollutants, both gases and particles
- help to regulate rainwater run-off, reducing the risk of local flooding
- help to cool run-off water, which otherwise can become quite warm, damaging river systems as it drains away
- help to reduce the effects of wind
- it is claimed that tree-lined streets increase the value of houses have even that they encourage people to spend more time shopping
Street trees are not entirely trouble free. Problems include:
- cracking of pavements and roads as the trunk and roots grow
- slippery and dangerous surfaces when leaves, flowers or fruits fall
- leaves and other debris may clog drains
- harmful or poisonous species are generally avoided but do sometimes occur.
Overall, trees are a positive and important part of our urban landscape.