Tree Economics

Set aside the intangibles that trees provide: beauty, sense of well-being, a home for wildlife.  Then ask what value are trees economically?  The answers might surprise you.


Study after study show that property with trees is more valuable than without. Often, we think of house size as the key economic driver, but all residential property value increases when trees are present. This means that even when smaller homes are replaced by larger ones, they are worth significantly more with trees.

Dr. Kathleen Wolfe with the University of Washington, College of the Environment, School of Environmental Science has published a document titled City Trees and Property Values.  In it she writes: “Although there have been a few exceptions, homes with trees are generally preferred to comparable homes without trees, with the trend across studies being a price increase of about seven percent.”[1]

Property Values 1

[1] Dr. Kathleen Wolf: City Trees and Property Values

It might take some effort to preserve trees during the building process.  But since tree preservation drives significantly higher property values, the investment pays off. Below are the results of a study showing the market price of treed vs. un-treed lots:

Property Values 2

[1] Dr. Kathleen Wolf: City Trees and Property Values

She concludes by saying “Given increased lot and home valuations, builders have reported that they were able to recover the extra costs of preserving trees in a higher sales price for a house and that homes on wooded lots sell sooner than homes on un-wooded lots.”[1]


Trees pay us back every day.  Casey Trees and Davey Tree developed a National Tree Benefit Calculator that brings the numbers home for you.  Plug in your zip, enter information about a tree in your yard and discover the value the tree gives you every year.

Using this tool, a yard with just 8 trees of varying species and sizes provides annual benefits of $1,296 as detailed in the chart below.

Sample Annual Tree Benefits


[1]  Dr. Kathleen Wolf:  City Trees and Property Values

[2]  National Tree Benefit Calculator

[3]  Casey Trees

[4]  Davey Tree

Don’t it always seem to go that you don’t know what you’ve got till it’s gone.  They paved paradise and put up a parking lot.
Joni Mitchell, Big Yellow Taxi

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