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Healthy Trees Enhance Well-Being

Aug 13, 2007

Happiness from trees

As a child, I moved from a wooded town in New England to an expanding Midwest suburb. The closest things to trees in that new landscape were phone poles…or so it seemed. You had to go to an arboretum to walk in the woods. It was depressing. Now I know why. Seeing trees and green can increase a sense of well-being according to researchers at the University of Illinois. They found trees help create vital places to live. So maybe one way to happier living is to plant more trees…or at least keep the ones we’ve got healthy.

Keeping trees healthy this summer

That’s tough to do when summer starts to sizzle and take its toll on weak or sick trees. What can you do? I asked Lisa Allen, Missouri’s state forester, for summer tips for a homeowner, a community or a forest landowner.

  1. Trees in your yard—Water when it’s dry; mulch to avoid damage to the bark by mowers and weed-eaters; fertilize with tree fertilizer spikes (but not until after the first year).
  2. Trees in your community—Prune hazardous limbs (best in winter but during dry periods in summer is second best); deal with storm-damaged trees; hire a certified arborist who will properly tend your trees (you can find local certified arborists through the International Society of Arboriculture).
  3. Trees in your forest—Get help in developing a management plan from a professional forester (a Missouri Department of Conservation forester or a consulting forester certified by the Society of American Foresters, or SAF)—the plan will help you be sure to get the benefits you want from your forest whether it’s wildlife, beauty, wood or a sustainable combination of these; call a professional forester before you or a logger cuts your trees to be sure it’s done in a way that keeps your forest healthy.

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