Melbourne is blessed with a beautiful tree canopy, made up of a diverse array of different species. These trees provide a number of important benefits for local residents, and they also provide benefits for the greater ecosystem of the region.
Some of the most important benefits Melbourne’s urban tree canopy provides include:
Trees soak up runoff water.
Sudden downpours can overwhelm the soil, producing a sheet of water that tears across the land. This water will carry with it any solid or liquid pollutants on the surface, eventually depositing these items in our local rivers. But by virtue of their sprawling root systems, trees can help accelerate the rate at which the water percolates into the ground and reduce the amount of surface water following strong rains.
Trees help to prevent erosion.
Although trees help reduce the amount of water flowing across the surface, they do not completely eliminate it. And, in addition to picking up pollution, this water can carve away the soil in the area. But tree roots help to keep the soil anchored in place, thereby reducing the rate of erosion.
Trees provide physical barriers to wind, noise and sunshine.
Many people understand that trees help provide shade and eliminate sightlines, but few realize they can also be used to protect an area from wind or noise too. It is for this reason that trees are often planted along highways and other busy roads, as the trees will help block much of the noise emanating from the road.
Similarly, trees can also be used to shield an area from the wind. This can be helpful in areas around gardens or farms, as the wind helps dry the soil. By blocking the wind with a row of trees, the soil will stay damper and allow you to water your plants more efficiently.
Trees help to lower local temperatures.
Trees engage in a process known as transpiration, which involves sucking the water out of the ground and allowing it to travel up the tree through the xylem. From there the water is allowed to evaporate from tiny holes in the surface of the leaves called stoma. This evaporation creates a cooling effect, just as evaporating sweat helps to cool humans.
Trees provide resources for local animals.
To ensure that an entire ecosystem remains healthy, you need to not only take care of the flora but the fauna too. In many cases, this requires nothing more than ensuring that an area has plenty of trees, as animals derive a number of resources from them.
For example, many birds and other critters dine on the fruits and seeds produced by trees, while many insects sip their nectar. Other animals use trees as habitat, including goannas who like hollow trees and birds who nest amid the branches.
Trees help to keep the air clean.
Most school children are aware that trees remove carbon dioxide and other gases from the air and release oxygen after using the carbon dioxide in the process of photosynthesis. But they actually do many other things to help provide the clean air we need to survive.
For example, trees serve as collecting sites for particulates in the air. When dust-laden winds blow through a tree’s canopy, much of the dust sticks to the leaves. It will generally stay attached until the next rains, which will allow the dust to wash down on to the ground, and return to the soil.
While many of the trees growing within Melbourne and the surrounding region are the responsibility of the city or other governmental agencies, plenty of them grow on private property and are the responsibility of the owner. In these cases, it is important to protect and care for your small part of the canopy.
Unfortunately, many of the trees in the Melbourne area are reaching the end of their expected lifespan, and are starting to experience problems. But with proper (and proactive) care, many of these can be supported in ways that will maximize the years they have left.
If you need some help caring for your portion of the canopy, give your friends at Trav’s Tree Service a call. We’ll visit your property, inspect the trees and provide a recommended course of action. We may even be able to help you avoid impending problems, such as shed limbs, which will help keep your home and family safe.