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28 Jul 2017
climate change trees

What Trees Are Best Suited for the Changing Climate?

Climate change is a serious global environmental crisis, and yet it seems like we are extremely slow in responding to this creeping disaster. From the unpredictable weather, changes in precipitation patterns, hurricanes becoming stronger and more destructive than ever, to rising sea levels, climate change is becoming more and more evident.

Among the most effective way that we can do to stop this phenomenal crisis from ruining the entire planet is by planting trees and ensuring that they grow strong and healthy. No matter how advanced our technology has become, trees are still the best defense we have against climate change.

Trees are important in our quest to stave off global warming since they take in and store carbon dioxide and other harmful gasses before they reach the uppermost part of the atmosphere and trap the heat around the planet’s surface.

And while all plants have the capability of taking in CO2, trees can absorb more of them due to their large structure.

That said, there are several tree species that absorb and store carbon dioxide better though. If you want to really help prevent global warming, planting these so-called “climate change trees” are highly suggested. But before we identify these tree species, let’s find out first what carbon sequestration is all about.

Carbon Sequestration

The process of absorption and storage of carbon dioxide is known as carbon sequestration. Trees suck in carbon dioxide during photosynthesis, with oxygen as the waste product of the process. Experts today are already working on creating artificial carbon sequestration process to help soak up carbon dioxide but so far, trees remain to be the most effective agents. As a matter of fact, an acre of trees can absorb enough carbon dioxide that is equal to the amount produced by cars driven 26,000 miles annually.

What Trees Best Absorb CO2?

Botanists and tree experts are all working together to identify trees that can absorb and gather carbon dioxide effectively. As a matter of fact, these studies have led to the discovery that willows accumulate little carbon and emit more volatile and harmful organic compounds.

Here’s a list of trees that can be considered as the best performers in terms of helping Earth fight climate change:

  1. Silver Maple – According to the Center for Urban Forests, this fast-growing deciduous tree can trap more or less 25,000 pounds of carbon dioxide in a 55-year span.
  2. Yellow Poplar – Also known as the tulip tree, the Yellow Poplar is considered as the top C02 scrubber as revealed by a New York City study. This tree is fast-growing, and does not have any flaws that are usually seen in trees that grow fast such as weak wood quality and short lifespan.
  3. London Plane – This is thought to be a hybrid of American sycamore and oriental plane. The London plane is a large deciduous tree that grows from 66 ft to over 131 ft. The tree has been considered as one of the most effective tree species in removing pollution in urban areas.
  4. American Sweetgum – Also called as hazel pine or alligator wood, this tree is a deciduous species that thrives in the warm areas of eastern North America, including tropical regions of Central America and Mexico.
  5. Blue Spruce – Despite being widely used as an ornamental tree, this coniferous tree with blue-colored needles is also a top carbon dioxide absorber. Blue spruce originated in the Rocky Mountains.
  6. Pines – This genus has plenty of subspecies. White pines, Hispaniola, and Ponderosa are usually said as the most effective carbon dioxide catcher among conifer trees.

When choosing what trees to plant, it’s best if you consider these facts first:

  1. Trees with large leaves and wide crowns photosynthesize better.
  2.  Native tree species will grow better in their local areas; it would be best to find what trees are native to your location.
  3. Fast-growing trees scrub carbon dioxide from the atmosphere better during their first decade; it’s considered as their most productive time.
  4. When they die, trees that have a long lifespan leak less carbon dioxide during their decomposition process.

If want to contribute in what little way you can to curb this global environmental crisis, then consider planting a tree. It’s the least expensive way to offset harmful greenhouse gasses that we emit in our everyday lives.

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Pixabay photo by Bluesnap

04 Jul 2017

Frontline Defense against Wildfire: How Your Trees Can Protect You and Your Property

Useful Tips for Creating Defensible Space to Protect Your Property against Wildfire


Wildfires are devastating. In the state of California alone, they destroy more than a thousand man-made structures every year. If you do a Google search, you might be surprised at how common wildfires are, not just in California but in other states as well.

So how do you protect your home and property from wildfires? What can you do to help mitigate the spread of a potential wildfire in your area? Oh, and did you know that planting trees and creating a tree firewall can help prevent wildfires from destroying your property?

But preventing the spread or the occurrence of wildfires takes more than just planting trees. There’s more to it than that. For example, when trees are not planted the right way, positioned properly, or maintained regularly, they can easily become a catalyst for wildfires rather than act as protective barriers.


The Role of Trees and Landscape in Creating Good Defensible Space against Wildfire

It’s no secret that planting trees and shrubberies in your yard can add beauty and value to your property, as well as help control soil erosion. The downside, however, is your property essentially becomes a fire hazard.=

But wait. Don’t start removing plant life in your property just yet!

Trees, shrubberies, and other plant life will only become fire hazards if they are not planted in the right place and if they don’t undergo regular maintenance. Best practices when it comes to planting and maintenance should always be observed, especially if you live in an area prone to wildfires.

Here are a few practical tips to help you create a more effective defensible space around your property to protect it against wildfires:

  • Remove brush and shrubberies around buildings and structures. Preferably, there should be at least 30 feet of space between buildings and shrubberies. Limit brush height to no more than 18 inches within 70 feet of structures. 
  • Avoid planting chaparral-type plants in and around your property, especially if your area is prone to wildfires. Plants like chamise, yucca, sage, pine, red shank, protea, common buckwheat, honeysuckle, and other chaparral-type plants are highly flammable and will burn like oil once they catch fire. 
  • Keep your yard and the fire-safe zone around your home clean at all times. You see those dead leaves under your trees and shrubs? Make sure that they are removed regularly. Dead leaves are highly flammable and can easily catch fire. If you need to change your landscape, make sure to inquire about the rules and regulations in your area. 
  • Choose plant species carefully when planting new shrubs and trees in your property. If wildfire is a serious concern in your area, opt for fire-retardant, non-invasive plants. Consult a local plant expert to see which plants are best suited for your area. 
  • Employ proper irrigation techniques. One of the key factors that help mitigate the spread of wildfire is soil condition. If the soil in your property is healthy and irrigated properly, with the right irrigation methods, the defensive space you’ve created around your property will be more effective.

Now, what about the trees? What should you do with your trees?


Creating an Effective Tree Firewall around Your Property to Maximize Defensible Space

Trees provide amazing view, they offer shade on a hot afternoon sun, and they enhance the beauty of any landscape. The downside is trees can catch fire, which can quickly go out of control. So how do you transform a fire hazard into an effective barrier against wildfire?

  • Choose an appropriate tree species to plant in your property. Not all types of trees are fire hazards, although there are highly flammable ones that can burn like oil. If you live in an area prone to wildfires, make sure to select trees that have fire-retardant properties so they can serve as a barrier between your home and potential wildfires. 
  • Make sure the trees in your property are properly arranged and spaced adequately. Fire can spread more easily from tree to tree, shrub to shrub, if the plants are positioned too close together. To make keep potential fires from spreading, increase the spacing between your trees and other plant life. 
  • Keep your trees regularly maintained. Regular pruning and removing of dead branches and limbs are important. Not just for the health of the tree, but for fire prevention as well.  You should also remove branches that are too close to the ground to eliminate fuel ladders, thus keeping ground fire from reaching the crown of the tree. 
  • Consult a certified arborist in your area to help manage your landscape and develop an effective defensive fire-safe zone around your property.


More info: photo by skeeze