Why Trees?

Trees are strong, silent protectors of human health and agents of environmental change. We know very well that human and environmental health are intertwined. Trees act on both. And as the environment we live in affects us - our mental and physical health, how much we pay to live somewhere, how clean our air and water is - we affect our environment. By preserving, planting, and maintaining trees, we’re not just investing in nature, we’re investing in our city, our neighborhood, and ourselves.

Why invest in trees? The return on investment is clear:

Every dollar spent on planting and caring for a community tree yields benefits that are two to five times that investment.

Urban trees are proven to:

Improve air quality

The value of air pollution removed by urban trees is estimated to be $3.8 billion. Roadside trees reduce nearby indoor air pollution by more than 50%. 

Improve water quality

Plants, especially woody plants, are very good at removing nutrients (nitrates and phosphates) and contaminates from soil and water. 

Reduce stormwater runoff

100 large urban trees intercept 100,000 gallons of rainfall per year.

Reduce the effects of climate change

During one year, a mature tree will absorb more than 48 pounds of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and release oxygen in exchange. 

Reduce energy use

Trees properly placed around buildings can reduce air conditioning needs by 30% and can save 20–50% in energy used for heating. 

Support wildlife

Trees provide food and shelter for many native and migratory animals.

Reduce crime

Among minor crimes, there is less graffiti, vandalism and littering in outdoor spaces with trees as a part of the natural landscape than in comparable plant-less spaces. 

Improve human health

Green spaces help residents combat stress, anxiety, and depression. Access to nature is also associated with fewer sick days and faster recovery times.

Calm traffic

Tree-lined streets have a traffic calming effect, which keeps drivers and pedestrians safe.

Increase property values

One US study even determined that large street trees were the single most important indicator of attractiveness in a community (Coder, 1996).

Most of these facts come from the Arbor Day Foundation.

Where to buy native trees

TreeLab trees can be found seasonally at Ellwood Thompson's and Pomona.

We recommend these local nurseries:

If you're interested in buying trees directly from TreeLab, please contact the TreeLab manager.

Generally, trees should be planted in the Spring (March-May) and Fall (September/October - November)

Tree Resources

City of Richmond's Urban Forestry Division
On this page you can find the Tree Inventory map, Adopt-A-Tree application materials, and tree permitting, removal, and maintenance forms.

We also have a Tree Planting Resource page to help you navigate tree permitting and planting in the City of Richmond.

Richmond Tree Stewards
The Tree Stewards are a volunteer-run Enrichmond Partner group and work to promote and improve the health of city trees to ensure the city’s forest will survive and thrive.

Virginia Department of Forestry

Arbor Day Foundation
Arbor Day Foundation plants trees all over the world and has many resources on the benefits of trees. When you become a member, you receive 10 free trees!

International Society of Arboriculture
Find an arborist in your area or find out how to become one!

Tree Research

Urban Heat Island Research
Science Museum of Virginia's Climate Scientist, Jeremy Hoffman, researched the "heat island effect" in Richmond and found that some areas of Richmond experience heat more intensely during heat waves. These areas of the City could be less vulnerable to heat events with more green infrastructure - like trees!

Green Cities: Good Health
An impressive compilation of research on the many benefits of trees in urban areas.

Urban Nature for Human Health and Well-being
A paper from the US Department of Agriculture giving an overview of all of the benefits of urban trees to human health.