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Tree Conservation in North Hempstead
From left to right: Blue jay in maple tree; Tree City USA logo; River Birch trees planted at Clark Botanic Garden
The Town of North Hempstead understands the importance of trees in our community. Trees provide many human and environmental benefits including:
- Trees absorb air pollutants thereby improving the quality of the air we breathe inside buildings and outside.
- Roadside trees are said to reduce nearby indoor air pollution by more than 50%.
- Trees reduce pollutants that can cause diseases like asthma, emphysema, and heart disease and lead to health problems for vulnerable populations like pregnant women and the elderly.
- Trees supply us with oxygen. One large tree can even provide a day’s supply of oxygen for up to four people.
- Studies show that office workers with a view of trees report significantly less stress.
- Trees absorb stormwater and can prevent flooding and runoff.
- They also take in pollutants from stormwater and stop them from reaching our local bays and estuaries as well as underground aquifers, where Long Island gets all of its drinking water.
- Trees provide nesting space and nesting materials as well as places to raise young for many species of birds, mammals, and even insects like bees.
- They also provide wildlife with cover, shade and protection from predators.
- Trees are used by birds, small mammals and bats for resting and roosting space.
- Trees provide a multitude of food sources in the form of berries, seeds, nectar, pollen, foliage, bark, wood and insects. They also are hunting grounds for many species.
- Many tree species are important larval host plants for a variety of moth and butterfly species. Research has shown that oak trees are the host plants for the greatest number of species of moths and butterflies.
- Even dead or dying trees can be beneficial to wildlife. These trees are called “snags” and birds, small mammals, and other wildlife use them for nesting, nurseries, storage areas, foraging, roosting, and perching.
Cooling and Saving Energy
- Trees lower surface and air temperatures by providing shade. Shaded surfaces may be 20-45℉ cooler than the peak temperatures of unshaded materials.
- Trees also help cool the air because of transpiration cooling. Water taken in by trees is released by their leaves into the air as water vapor. As the water turns from a liquid to a gas the surrounding air cools down. Evaporation of water from the surface of leaves has the same effect.
- Trees also can help to keep the heat in a building by providing a windbreak. Trees shield a building from the cooling effects of wind and reduce the need for heating.
- Trees around houses and buildings can reduce air conditioning needs by 25-30% and can save 20-50% in energy used for heating.
- The reduction of energy for heating and cooling means that trees around homes and buildings can result in lower energy costs. According to the US Department of Energy the proper placement of only 3 trees can save an average household between $100 and $250 annually.
- Trees absorb the greenhouse gas carbon dioxide (CO2), removing and storing the carbon while releasing oxygen back into the air.
- In fact, in one year, an acre of mature trees absorbs the amount of carbon dioxide produced by a car driven 26,000 miles!
- In many communities homes with street trees sell quicker and for more money than those without them.
- Trees are beautiful! They can have gorgeous flowers, foliage, fruits and bark which provide visual interest in all seasons.
The Town has taken many actions to conserve and increase trees as well as educate its residents about their value. These include:
- The Town was first designated a Tree City USA by the Arbor Day Foundation in 2011 and has been designated one every year since. This designation is given out to towns and cities that have a viable tree management plan and program.
- The Town recently amended and strengthened its Tree Code, which includes updated legislative intent detailing the importance of preserving existing trees, including environmental and aesthetic benefits trees provide, the establishment of a Tree Preservation Fund to be spent on tree plantings and other tree related initiatives and the re-establishment of the Tree Advisory Committee that will include members of the public and an arborist.
Full code details and a video that describes the new tree code and how you can help take care of trees can be found HERE.
- The Town has an Arbor Day celebration each year, which consists of a tree planting in the community and an educational program for students in local schools.
- In 2019, the Town received a Trees for Tribs grant from the NYS Department of Conservation (DEC) to plant many native trees and shrubs along Whitney Creek in Manhasset Valley Park. This will help prevent pollutants from reaching local waterbodies. The plantings took place in the fall of 2020.
- The Town is committed to planting more trees on its properties as well as in its neighborhood, especially trees native to Long Island, which will provide benefits for humans and wildlife.
How can you help trees?
Proper Care and Maintenance
- Taking care of trees the right way will allow them to be health, grow and provide all of the benefits discussed above.
- This includes selecting the right tree for the conditions in your landscape, proper planting, proper mulching, watering, and pruning. Click here for more details.
- Native trees are those that have evolved over hundreds or even thousands of years in a geographic area.
- The trees native to NY and Long Island are adapted to the climate and soil conditions and therefore usually need lower inputs (like water and fertilizer) than non-native trees. This also includes resistance to native pests.
- Native trees are also very important to native wildlife species because they have evolved together. This is why butterfly and moth species need certain host plants for their larvae to eat. There are also specialist insects like bees that depend on specific groups of plants to get their pollen and nectar.
Arbor Day Foundation: https://www.arborday.org/
Tree City USA: https://www.arborday.org/programs/treecityusa/
Where to See Native Plants at Town Parks: https://www.northhempsteadny.gov/nativeplants