It’s Time to Make a Little Easy Money
What if you could add thousands of dollars in value to your property, reduce your summer cooling cost by 20% and, if you own a retail store, increase your sales by 25%, all by just spending a few dollars?
Of course, there’s not a one of us that wouldn’t jump at the chance to do that. After all, there’s something built in us as Americans that makes us want to make money, save money, and make our property more valuable.
Well, the answer is so simple you won’t believe it; plant trees. Yep, that’s it, and there are dozens of studies to prove that the simple act of planting a tree will do exactly that. Consider the following studies:
(1) First and most obvious, a big shade tree next to your house will cut your electrical bills during the summer by at least 20%. Satellite infrared shots of blank downtowns are noticeably hotter than an area with abundant trees, and the difference in cooling shade trees in a downtown brings in more customers to a tree lined street than to a street with a hot sidewalk.
(2) A beautiful residential lot with shade trees surrounding a house will add thousands of dollars to the appraisal. In some Dallas subdivisions it is common-place to see home owners bring in large trees costing $15,000 to $20,000 after they finish building their house. They know that not only are these trees visually pleasing to the eye, but they are adding value to their property.
(3) A recent government survey concluded that potential customers were more likely to shop in stores that had trees or other landscaping around them than stores that didn’t. In fact, the study also concluded that customers believed the goods offered in these stores were of better quality and they were willing to pay more for them. Sales in the stores with trees and landscaping were sometimes more that 25% higher that stores with no landscaping around them. Just think of the blank parking lots around our state, and consider that if the property owner would just spend a few dollars on planting trees, the surrounding stores would see a strong increase in retail sales.
(4) A yard of beautiful shade trees will not only cut your utility bills, but will add thousands of dollars to the appraised value of your property. The IRS agrees with trees having a real property value, and if lighting or a high wind destroys a significant tree in your yard you can take a casualty loss on your income tax.
(5) If you are going to plant a street tree or a tree in your yard, I have two recommendations: the autumn red maple and the crepe myrtle tree. This variety of maple has been developed for the south, and of course the crepe myrtle is a great all round tree, but please don’t chop off the top of your crepe myrtle each spring. A crepe myrtle is a tree not a bush.
It seems we find it hard to lose the “slash and burn” attitude of our grandfathers who cleared hundreds of millions of acres of virgin forest in our country, and the idea that trees add value is sometimes hard to understand. However, citywide tree planting is becoming an important part of many downtowns. I was just in Houston, and in preparation for the Super Bowl, Houston planted thousands of trees. Several years back the City of Chicago started a tree planting program to plant a million trees within the city limits. They have exceeded the initial million goal, and today, if you want a tree in your front yard, call the city and they will come plant a tree for you at no charge.
It’s easy to sum up the numerous advantages trees offer home owners or business owners. For the dollars spent, trees will add more value to your property than anything you can do. So this year while the planting season is still with us, head to your local nursery and buy a tree. It will pay dividends for years to come. Of course, here in Arkansas, most of us can easily find small trees that landowners will gladly give away; so plant a tree and make a little money!!