Money may not grow on trees, but trees do mean money.
It's always been hard to measure the "beauty" value a tree provides, but new research lets us put a dollar figure on the aesthetic value of home landscape trees.
In studies led by Professor Nate Perkins of the School of Landscape Architecture at the University of Guelph, Ontario, people valued a property with trees from 4 to 15 percent higher than the same property without trees. Furthermore, the studies measured the effects of only two trees on a boulevard, not a fully landscaped property.
Why the added value? "Trees soften the look of rooflines," says Perkins. "We found that one main factor in what makes a 'settled neighborhood' is trees that cover the hard visual lines of roofs, power lines, and so forth. These willingness-to-pay studies allow us to put a dollar figure on the aesthetic value of trees."
Measuring the value of trees
Researchers asked people to examine model houses with yards, and state what they were willing to pay for the house a) with no trees and b) with two 3-inch-diameter red oaks planted between the sidewalk and the curb.
The average estimated value of the unlandscaped houses was $200,000. But the value of houses with two trees out front was as much as $230,000. That's 15 percent more, which also equates to a 10,000 percent return on two mature $150 trees.