Arbor Day, June 5 is the day New Zealanders are encouraged to plant and care for trees and marks the beginning of our winter planting season. Celebrate by getting involved in a community planting project or planting a tree of your own.
Spending time around trees and nature is a proven stress release and happiness booster for human kind. Hospital patients get better quicker when they can see or sit among trees. Traffic moves more calmly in tree lined streets.
Planting projects that encourage community involvement are accessible to all cultures, ages, and genders. Trees in parks promote civil pride and provide a place for play and recreation. The presence of street trees has been shown to lower incidence of violence.
Fruits, nuts, seeds, oils - a wide variety of the most nutritious kinds of food we eat grows on trees, many of them easily grown in a home garden.
Trees keep us cool
The urban ‘heat island’ effect occurs where the proliferation of roads and concrete resulting in a city that is significantly hotter than its surrounding suburbs. Trees offset the heat island effect by providing shade and cooling when the water they draw up from the earth evaporates from leaf surfaces.
Strategically planted trees reduce the need for energy hungry air conditioning systems in homes and workplaces. Trees can also keep us warmer in winter, by providing shelter from cold winds. Deciduous trees give shade in summer but let the warm sun through in winter.
Trees not only convert carbon dioxide into pure oxygen, they also filter out harmful dust particles and pollutants like carbon monoxide and sulphur dioxide.
Trees and shrubs planted on stream and river margins filter out soil particles and soak up nutrients that would otherwise enter and pollute waterways. They slow down the flow of water, which helps prevent flooding.
Trees prevent soil degradation and erosion. They soak up excess ground water, soften the impact of wind and rain, and physically anchor soil to slopes. Meanwhile their fallen leaves are critical in maintaining soil biology, feeding the microorganisms that build rich fertile topsoil.
Maintaining biodiversity, which is the variety in all living things, is critical to a sustainable world; safeguarding against disease and adapting to climate change. Loss of variety in trees means a corresponding loss of variety in the countless plants, animals and microorganisms that trees provide food and shelter for.
Trees play a huge role in offsetting global warming by removing one of the most damaging greenhouse gases from the atmosphere. Through the natural process of photosynthesis, trees soak up carbon dioxide, storing the carbon and emitting pure oxygen.
Tree nursery in autumn
Deciduous trees in a park
Tui in kowhai
Laburnum - Golden Chain Tree