01 May 2014 / by tuckerdog / Tree Economics
What is the Worth of a Tree?
Trees shade and cool homes on a hot day and add neighborhood ambience. They increase the enjoyment of a person who drives or walks down a tree lined street. Trees create street appeal and make neighborhoods more beautiful. But are trees actually worth money? The answer is yes.
Type in “What is a tree worth?” into Google, several tree value calculators come up in the search engine results. Some calculators tabulate value based on tree size, species, condition, and location. Some base value on the monetary benefits of cooling, controlling erosion, providing wildlife shelter, and reducing air pollution. In either calculation, a dollar amount is compounded over 50 years using 5 percent interest. According to i-Tree calculator, a 45 inch diameter tree in Washington Park at breast level (DBH) is worth about $15,000.
A dominate tree in a nice yard in Washington park would probably be worth two or three times more than $15,000 based on comparable landscapes in the neighborhood. Removing a tree from a nice yard will reduce the value of the home. Trees are worth money, but the amount depends on the location of the home and the maturity of its landscape. Let’s assume that the typical tree landscape in Denver is worth about 5 – 10 percent of the home value.
The Value of Trees in Denver
Denverites must like trees since we have planted 1.4 million of them in the city. Based on 2010 U.S. Census data, there are 288,185 housing units in Denver. The median home value of owner-occupied housing units is $246,300. Let’s assume 50 percent of the trees are planted in home yards (700,000 trees) and three-quarters the homes have trees (216,138). This means each home has 3.24 trees. Using the 5 -10 percent of home value assumption, means trees in Denver are worth between $2.6 to $5.2 Billion based on median home value. Needless to say, trees in Denver do have substantial economic value.
Infestation Economic Impact
Since trees are valuable, tree infestations should be taken seriously by city hall and individual homeowners. Colorado has been dealing with the pine beetle kill for decades. This tree insect has affected over million acres of trees in the state. Beetle kill increases fire damage and decrease pine lumber quality. The Dutch Elm disease denuded elm trees from Eastern U.S. cities. Denver has lost elm trees but is lucky because its streets are still lined with some grand elm specimens. Denver is dealing with the 1000 Cankers Disease that attacks walnut trees. A future threat is the emerald ash borer (EAB). The EAB is now in Boulder country. If the EAB arrives in Denver, it will be a serious threat to Denver’s urban forest.
The best action homeowners can take to protect the trees in their yard is to keep informed about tree infestations. Please use the tree insect calendar on this website to get information on specific tree pests.
DLC has a full time certified arborist on staff. He can answer question about how protect your trees from the walnut twig beetle or the emerald ash borer. Please call (303) 378-8000 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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