Let’s talk about property value here in Southwest Florida. Our real estate has had explosive growth over the past year but is starting to cool off in recent months. However, if you want to talk about value, you must talk about long term value and what you can do to add value to your property and to its curb appeal. The most visible way to do that is to have your property landscaped beautifully, not only with flowers and plants, but also with trees. In fact, according to Arborist News, larger trees can add between 3 and 15% to your home’s value. The Council of Tree and Landscape Appraisers says the value of a single mature tree can be between $1,000 and $10,000 depending on which type of tree it is.
Aside from adding to your home’s value, trees also help save money when placed properly to provide your home with shade reducing your electricity bill by as much as 50% a year according to the American Power Association. Trees improve air quality and water quality because they give off oxygen and they reduce rain runoff and erosion. In a survey of realtors, 83% said properties with mature trees increased the value of homes listed for under $150,000 and when the home price increases to over $250,000, this perception increased to 98%. Good tree cover increased property prices for residential areas by about 7% in one study, and 18% for building lots. The statistics about the benefits of trees are abundant and apply not only to your individual home value, but also to the difference they make for communities as a whole. For example, a study by a nonprofit conservation organization known as American Forests, showed that Atlanta residents saved $2.8 million annually on energy bills thanks to the shade provided by the City of Atlanta’s canopy of large mature trees that were planted street side. In Tucson, AZ another study showed that the city’s 500,000 plus mature mesquite trees saved them an estimated $90,000 in rainwater runoff control.
Trees provide peace, tranquility, and noise control. Let’s face it, we all feel happier, healthier, and more at peace when surrounded by greenery. It’s one of the reasons, we at Peer Landscaping love what we do. We get to play with greenery all day long! Trees provide tranquil spaces that allow us to breathe easier and relax. One of the reasons for that is their noise reduction properties. A North Carolina University study showed that properly placed trees block street noise by as much as 40%. In Tony Hiss’s book about Chicago’s public housing projects, The Experience of Place, he found that people who lived in projects that were surrounded by trees and green space had fewer incidents of domestic violence, better relationships with neighbors and a stronger sense of community.
Choosing the Right Type of Trees for Your Landscape
Being in zones 9, 10, 11 means we have plenty of distinct kinds of trees to choose from here in Lee and Collier County. Choosing trees can be challenging, especially if you are new to the area and new to the varieties of trees we have. After all, you don’t want to choose a tree that will leave a mess in terms of falling leaves, seeds, or berries. In fact, there are a lot of factors to think about when choosing the right trees for your yard, so here at Peer Landscaping, we’ve provided you with some important considerations we think about before making any suggestions to our landscape clients.
First, here’s a few things to consider about trees in general, no matter where you live:
- Select the right species for your zone. Southwest Florida is subtropic and encompasses Zones 9, 10, and 11. This means we do not get frost or freezing temperatures. Trees need to be heat hardy and be able to grow well during our wet rainy summers as well as our dry, cooler winters.
- Plan for future growth. This is a mistake we see so often when we go to homes where the homeowners, or that former homeowners planted trees without knowing how big they would get or without knowing anything about that species root structure. Trees require adequate spacing that takes into account how large their limbs get, how tall they will grow, how far out the root systems get. So, when our landscape designers choose trees, we are planning for 10, 20 and 30 years of growth.
- Choose the right spot for the right tree according to how much sunlight they need. While most trees love sunlight, not all do. So, we always pay attention to the tracking of the sun across your property before we plant. We also want to choose the right spot for your home. For example, according to Arborday.org, if we plant a tree on the west side of your home, in five years your energy bills will be 3% less and in 15 yeas the savings could be as much as 15%.
- We plant for diversity for the health of your entire yard. Often when we have a new client in a developed community, they will have three of the same type of tree in their yard. Typically, the city or county ordinances say newly built homes must have three trees or something like that and they don’t specific anything beyond that. So, the developers plant three trees without any thought to what type of tree it is, whether or not it is an invasive species, whether it is going to interfere with powerlines in the future or anything like that. We like to choose several diverse types of trees that are native to the area so that they grow well, with minimum care. By choosing the plants that are native to this area, it cuts down on your water and pesticide use as well.
- We always discuss what attributes our clients are looking for in the trees for their yard. Are you looking for something that will have a large canopy for shade? Do you want something that will flower? Are you looking to have it provide privacy? Do you want fruit? Here in Southwest Florida, we have the ability to growth some of the most valuable fruit-bearing trees around ranging from mango to citrus, guava, papaya, and avocado. Something to consider as food prices have skyrocketed recently.
Choosing Trees by Type and Attribute
The trees that take root in your yard can provide your home with many different valuable things depending on what you really want. So, let’s look at the different attributes various trees can provide, while at the same time, noting which of our native Florida varieties provide which attributes.
Allowing lots of sunlight on your home in Oregon is fine, but here in Southwest Florida, our intense sun fades exterior paint faster, and increases air conditioning use, adding to your energy bill. When properly placed, trees block out that summer sun and make your home and yard cooler. We have several trees that provide a nice broad canopy such as Jacarandas and Poincianas. These Florida natives not only provide nice shade, but they also burst with gorgeous flowers every year.
Trees that provide some privacy for your yard make homeowners feel safer and more at ease in their outdoor space. Planting tall narrow trees works well because they can serve as a privacy screen without taking up too much space. A beautiful example of this type of tree that grows here in Florida is the Leyland Cypress. Fast growing and low maintenance this type of Cypress creates a very lush privacy screen in just a couple of years, so if you are looking to block out unwanted noise from a busy street evergreen conifer tree is perfect. It loves full sunlight and does well in zones 9 and 10.
Springtime in the Northern states is heralded by the blooming of flowering trees such as Dogwoods and Japanese Cherry Trees. While neither of these trees do well in our zone, we do have plenty of flowering trees that herald spring, and plenty that give us flowers all year long. Some beautiful examples of this are Magnolia trees, Florida Gardenias, and Queen Crepe Myrtles (If you are a lover of lilacs, then the Queen Crepe Myrtle is a great substitute since lilacs won’t grow here.)
Is anything more satisfying than eating something you’ve grown yourself? Florida is well known for our fruit bearing trees from the many varieties of citrus that grow here to bananas, mangos and all the highly prized tropical fruits that are bountiful here. Somethings to keep in mind, certain trees like bananas continually propagate themselves, so plant them in an area where you are fine with them continuing to grow outward and be prepared to have a banana grove. Mango trees fruit once a year, but bountifully. Be sure to harvest them properly or you will have a lot of fallen fruit in your yard that will attract pests. We can help you choose which fruit trees will thrive in your yard once you tell us what you are yearning for.