Photos courtesy Trees Atlanta
According to a 2014 Georgia Tech study Atlanta has the densest tree canopy of any major city in the United States and it’s thanks to efforts from organizations such as Trees Atlanta that we are able to maintain these trees even while our city’s population grows exponentially.
In addition to preserving the beauty of the lush trees that overlook our community, a healthy tree canopy also lowers summer temperatures, reduces energy consumption, lowers electricity bills, absorbs pollutants, increases property values, combats erosion, and helps to negate the urban heat island effect.
According to the United States Environmental Protection Agency (US EPA), a “heat island” describes the temperature difference of more heavily populated areas compared with rural surrounds. Annually, a city with a population of one million people or more can be between 1.8 to 5.4 degrees fahrenheit hotter than less populated communities nearby. Factors such as exhaust from cars, emissions from factories and machinery, and the ratio of tree coverage that diffuses heat versus exposed streets and buildings which reflect and retain heat, amplifying overall temperature.
Interested homeowners can visit the Trees Atlanta website here to learn more and apply for this free program. Shade trees such as Maples, Poplars, Wildlife Blackum, and Nuttal Oaks among others have been carefully selected for the program, chosen for their hardiness and ability to cast shade. Residents are able to choose which trees they would like to have planted or they can defer to the advice of Trees Atlanta staff. Arborists and volunteers will deliver and install up to 3 trees per front yard after which the homeowner assumes responsibility for care and maintenance of the trees. Residences that lack the space for overstory trees will have the option to choose native fruit trees instead.