Welcome to our new tree column, "Ask your local arborist." Each month, arborists from the Davey Tree Expert Company in Menlo Park will discuss a tree-related topic from general care to planting tips and tricks to how trees can impact your property and community, as well as answer your questions. If you have a tree-related question or an idea for a topic to discuss, email email@example.com or post in the comments section at the end of this column. Arborists may make house calls, when needed, to assess tree questions on your property.
Can a tree or well-landscaped yard really make a difference to your property's value? You bet.
A mature tree in the front of a house increases a home's sales price by an average of $7,130. If that tree is part of a well-kept landscape, it could increase your home value by 5% to 11%.
That means that you can expect to see about a 109% return on every $1 you invest in your landscaping.
Curb Appeal is among the more obvious reasons a tree can add value to your property. A visually aesthetic, properly cared-for landscape, including the trees, can be an eye-catching feature for potential homebuyers. This can be a great first impression for people driving by, visiting, or purchasing the home.
There also are other reasons a tree can boost your property listing.
If a tree is strategically planted, it can provide shade during the hot summer months and reduce the need for air conditioning in the home, ultimately lowering energy cost.
Trees offer many environmental benefits, including improved air quality, carbon sequestration and stormwater runoff reduction, which can all be appealing to environmentally conscious buyers.
Quality of life also can be linked to areas with abundant trees and green spaces. That's why creating a desirable green living environment outside of your home will result in a higher market price when you are prepared to sell.
Not all trees add equal value
The specific impact of trees on property value can vary based on tree size, species, condition and placement.
Since healthy and thriving trees always add more value, it's important to plant species that will do well in your climate zone.
If you are looking to sell your home, it's best to consult with your local real estate expert or an appraiser familiar with your specific neighborhood to provide more accurate and up-to-date information on how much value landscape improvements might bring to your property. I also recommend having an arborist assess trees in a property's landscape before it a home goes on the market.
Five varieties to consider
With that in mind, the following list of species are known for their aesthetic appeal and adaptability to the Midpeninsula area and have the potential to enhance property value.
• Japanese Maple (Acer palmatum). These ornamental trees add a pop of color to your landscape with their rich and vibrant foliage, which come in shades of of red, orange and green. Japanese Maples are known for boosting curb appeal, as they grab your attention as you are walking or driving by.
• Blue Atlas cedar (Cedrus atlantica 'Glauca'). The blue atlas cedar is a bold choice of silvery-blue foliage that drapes from expansive branches. They are drought tolerant and thrive in full sun, making them very low maintenance and attractive.
• Coast Live Oak (Quercus agrifolia). The Coast live oak is a California native oak tree, making it perfect for the Palo Alto area. They provide shade, attract wildlife and are highly valued for their natural beauty and wide stature.
• Flowering Cherry (Prunus spp.). Any flowering tree is going to add interest in a landscape, but the flowering cherry trees are known for their stunning spring blossoms, adding an extra focal point to a property.
• Redwood (Sequoia sempervirens). California's iconic Redwood trees are highly sought out for their tall stature. They provide shade and privacy and can bring a sense of tranquility to a property, however, they do require lots of extra watering as they age.
Jeff Newborn is a local arborist at The Davey Tree Expert Company in Menlo Park, which serves communities on the Peninsula, including Menlo Park, Atherton, Palo Alto and Redwood City. Newborn can be reached at 866-923-5658.