Trees Work

trees work

Trees give us shade on blistering hot afternoons, make cozy dens for all sorts of woodland creatures, yield wood for baseball bats and golf clubs, and provide the pulp for paper. You might be surprised to learn they can also improve your child’s ability to learn, lower your blood pressure, raise the value of your property, and bring more shoppers to your community

Trees Work is an outreach and communications program from the Missouri Department of Conservation to help build awareness of the real and tangible benefits that trees and forests provide to Missourians. It was developed as a result of the 2010 state forest action plan, which assessed the critical issues facing Missouri’s trees and forests. One key finding from the plan was the need to communicate tree and forest benefits to help Missourians understand just how important it is to sustain the state’s forest resources.

Since 2012, Trees Work outreach has focused on sharing tree benefits through public service announcements, events, activities, print posters, and social media. By focusing on the benefits that trees provide, it uses messages that truly resonate with a wide variety of people, and it’s helping the department reach the goals set forth in the action plan.


The presence of larger trees in yards and along streets can add from 3% to 15% to home values throughout neighborhoods.
Source: Local Economics: Green Cities, Good Health (

Shade from two large trees on the west side of a house and one on the east side can save up to 30% of a typical residence’s annual air conditioning costs.
Source: Trees Reduce Building Energy Use in U.S. Cities (

Trees properly placed around buildings as windbreaks can save up to 25% on winter heating costs.
Source: How to Plant a Windbreak to Conserve Energy (


Being able to see trees while recovering from surgery increases a patient’s pain threshold, requiring less pain relivers and shortening recovery time.
Source: Health Benefits of Gardens in Hospitals (

Those who commute along tree lined roads remain calmer and drive less aggressively than those who drive along less treed roads.
Source: Safe Streets: Green Cities: Good Health (

Park users report urban forests and parks offer a place for reflective thought, resting the mind and creative thinking even better than their homes.
Source: Active Living: Green Cities: Good Health (

Trees along streets promote physical activity in children and increased longevity in the elderly.
Source: Improving Health and Wellness through Access to Nature (


ADHD symptoms in children are relieved after spending time in nature. Kids are better able to concentrate, complete tasks, and follow directions after playing in natural settings.
Source: ADHD, (University of Illinois)

Contact with nature helps children develop imagination and creativity, cognitive and intellectual development, and social relationships.
Source: Mental Health: Green Cities: Good Health (

Parents who live in areas with trees and greenery immediately outside report fewer aggressive acts against their family members.
Source: Vegetation and Violence, (University of Illinois)

Girls with a home view of trees and greenery score higher on tests of concentration and self-discipline.
Source: Girls and Self-Discipline, (University of Illinois)


People tend to socialize more with neighbors in neighborhoods with trees.
Source: Communities, (University of Illinois)

Compared with housing that has little or no vegetation, buildings with trees and grass have 48% fewer property crimes and 56% fewer violent crimes.
Source: Environment and Crime, (University of Illinois)

Research has found that green areas have half as many crimes as areas with no trees or grass.
Source: Crime and Public Safety: Green Cities: Good Health (

Trees are one of the most cost-effective means of mitigating urban heat islands. Properly selected trees provide shade to buildings and sidewalks, helping to reduce temperatures. They also provide cooling through transpiration – a natural air cooling effect that occurs when trees release moisture into the air.
Source: What is the urban heat island effect? (American Forests)


Shade from a tree’s canopy can reduce temperatures by up to 20 degrees, making it safer and more comfortable to be outdoors.
Source: Dr. R. Coder -- Benefits of Community Trees.pdf (

Urban trees can reduce annual stormwater runoff by 2-7%, and a mature tree can store 50 to 100 gallons of water during large storms.
Source: TreeCityUSABulletin_55_StormwaterRunoff.pdf (

Trees clean the air by absorbing carbon dioxide, sulfur dioxide, nitrogen oxide and other pollutants. They also shade cars and parking lots, reducing ozone emissions from vehicles.
Source: US Forest Service Lower Midwest Tree Guide (

Missouri’s urban trees store 12.4 million tons of carbon.
Source: U.S. urban trees store carbon, provide billions in economic value | US Forest Service (


Missouri’s forest products industry contributes $10 billion to the state’s economy annually, supporting over 45,000 jobs and generating over $600 million in taxes.

Employees with views of nature report 15 percent fewer illnesses and feel more enthusiastic and less frustrated than those without a view outside.
Source: Learning: Green Cities: Good Health (

People are willing to send about 12% more for goods and services along downtown streets lined with trees. They’ll also spend more time shopping and come back more frequently.
Source: Local Economics: Green Cities: Good Health (

The average annual net benefit of a mature large tree is $85 in a yard and $113 on public land.
Source: Northeast Community Tree Guide (

Boost Your Tree IQ
Tree Planting

Purchase tree and shrub seedlings from MDC’s state forest nursery. 


If you can’t tell a redbud from a redwood, start here.


Use this tree benefit calculator to find out.


Insects and diseases can harm your trees.


Trees Work for Your Family

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Trees Work Material

Missouri residents can order free copies of Trees Work mini-posters, rack cards and flyers.


If outside Missouri, send an email to TreesWork and we can send you PDF files you can print yourself.