Contributing Writer: Chris Olson BCMA/TRAQ
All photos courtesy of Chris Olson.

Arborist Chris Olson, West Des Moines, Iowa

Fact or fiction: Do trees make home values fall?

It’s no secret that trees have benefits. Front-line warriors in climate change, they accomplish more than we oft-times remember: oxygen creation, cleaning of air pollution, management of water resources, noise pollution deflection, economic benefits, biodiversity, psychological health, temperature reduction, carbon sequestration and much more.

Does This Tree Add or Take Away From This Home?

So why do societal opinions lean towards the negative?

Here are a few “negatives” not founded in fact.

  1. Tree roots destroy.
  2. Branches over a roof increase risk.
  3. Crowded canopies create chaos.
  4. A larger tree is more likely to fail.
  5. Trees are too messy.
  6. Too much maintenance is required.

Here are the facts.

Site selection, species profile, soil structure and available resources cause root problems. Not trees.

1. Tree roots aid soil health, erosion control and moisture retention, which are required during flood and drought. Structural damage comes due to poor construction, soil structure and poor grading, or leaving an available resource in an undesirable area.

Branches over rooves protect a home.

2. Lower branches provide wind loading and home protection should another branch fail. What’s more, they have a direct correlation with tree vitality and wood functionality.

Clusters of trees work well together.

3. Trees grow better in groups. Crown shyness prevents encroachment, and results in favorable wind loading dynamics with increased moisture retention.

Large trees are harder to move.

4. Inertia. A personal survey of an eighty-mile tornado damage trail evidenced large trees less likely to fail.

100% LCR makes a tree less messy.

5. Vitality is the largest contributor to mess. Healthy trees with Live Crown Ratio in the highest percentile retain tree parts at a less messy rate.

Pruning. Not a requirement of tree ownership.

6. Maintenance is required only to offset the effects of our human interaction. Problems are created by us. Then we complain about fixing our own problems while blaming the tree.