Trees add value to your home, save energy and they help save the planet, but don't start digging holes until you confirm you have the right tree for the right location.
The smash hit app Pixel People aside for a moment. Money doesn't grow on trees, but the value they add to your property can be just as lucrative.
Environmentally savvy designers of the mini-sim city app Pixel People, included a variety of trees as one source of "utopium," an also mined element that be exchanged for and used as currency.
You can use utopium to buy land, build houses and create the businesses where the Pixel People work.
The app's digital art imitates life, according to a report from HouseLogic.com, the National Association of Realtors website for homeowners who want to keep on being homeowners in a home that grows in value.
Money from trees
When it comes to trees, the real-world financial benefits are three-fold.
• HomeLogic reports the USDA Forest Service says a single tree on a property adds about $630 to the value of the property, provided the right tree is used in the proper location.
• Over time, three well placed trees can save even more in energy savings - from $100 to $250 every year, due to cooling shade and winter windbreaking.
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency says strategically planted trees and vegetation that block the sun's rays and reduce heat transfer to a home can reduce cooling energy consumption by up to 40 percent annually.
• And then there's the reduced carbon footprint that helps save the planet. It's tough to put a price tag on Mother Earth.
HouseLogic reports the Trust for Public Land estimated that one mature tree takes 48 pounds of carbon out of the atmosphere each year and returns enough oxygen for two human beings.
For the return on your money, trees are a cheap investment. Arbor Day Foundation sells saplings for $15 or less. The price is smaller if you are a member.
Till these tree truths
You can't just plant trees willy-nilly or sow a variety that isn't suited for your region and expect to net savings.
• Planting a deciduous tree on the west side of your home provides cooling shade in the summer. After it loses its leaves in the winter the tree lets the sunlight in.
• An evergreen on the west side blocks sun all year long, making a home colder and darker in winter. Evergreens are more suited for planting on the north side of your home to block winter winds.
• Incorrectly locating a tree can actually harm the value of your home.
A newly planted tree can appear to be nothing more than a twig with a few branches.
However, once it reaches full height, if it was planted below power lines, it could be deemed a hazard.
Likewise, expect foundation damage or blocked sewer lines if you plant certain trees too near your home, HouseLogic reports.
Bone up on trees before you start digging holes.