Mercy Tips to Care for Earth

More on Planting Healthy Trees

By Jason Giovannettone, Climate and Sustainability Director

As Mike mentioned last week, trees provide a number of environmental benefits for the planet humans, wildlife, and even other plants.  A mature tree can take in and store significant amounts of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere.  But does it matter the type of tree or where we decide to plant it?   

Mike reminded us that native trees (as well as other plants) are easier to maintain. Often, they need little more than water to thrive and remain healthy. If your tree is healthy, it is much more efficient at removing carbon dioxide from the atmosphere.  When considering a tree to plant in your yard, focus on deciduous trees (i.e., trees that lose their leaves during the autumn season); coniferous trees such as pines grow better at higher altitudes than those at which people generally live. Plant your tree close to other trees. Trees growing in forested areas are healthier and more efficient at removing carbon dioxide from the air than trees that are planted in locations isolated from other trees.   

To determine which trees are native to your region, you can use the National Wildlife Federation’s “Native Plant Finder” by entering your zip code. For more information on the social behavior of trees and some tips on how to ensure your tree is as healthy as possible, we highly recommend reading the book The Hidden Life of Trees by Peter Wohlleben.  Other books that address our relationship with the environment are Braiding Sweetgrass by Robin Wall Kimmerer and The Secret Wisdom of Nature by Peter Wohlleben.  Happy reading!