Trees serve many purposes that improve our quality of life, environment and even the air we breathe. Among the most significant contributions of trees to the environment is the conservation of soil, water, energy and wildlife.
Strong Texas winds can blow clouds of dust across the state, removing tons of valuable top soil. Trees serve as windbreaks that slow the wind at ground level, reducing airborne soil particles. Along creeks and rivers, tree roots hold stream banks firm against the erosive action of rushing water, improving water quality and reducing stream- and lake-bed sedimentation which, in turn, preserves aquatic life.
Trees reduce home energy costs blocking cold north winds and shading roof tops from 100-degree-plus temperatures. Trees provide comfortable outdoor living areas with shade, privacy and a place to climb and hang a swing.
Trees not only protect people but pets and livestock as well. Livestock graze in the early-morning and late-afternoon hours. Trees provide shade during the heat of the day so that digestion may take place. The old saying “a cow laying under a shade tree, chewing her cud is healthy” has some merit to it.
Conservation trees provide food and shelter for numerous wildlife species as well. They produce fruits, nuts and berries, which supply a quality food source for many species of birds and mammals that winter in the area.
They also provide nesting materials and cover for raising young, cover for loafing, protection from exposure to the harsh environment and an escape haven for eluding predators.
In an effort to encourage the planting of conservation trees, the Denton County Soil and Water Conservation District purchased tree seedlings from the Texas Forest Service and were made available to the public.
Through this conservation program, more than 1,200 landowners in Denton County have planted more than 90,000 tree seedlings since 1991.
The Conservation District had 11 varieties of hardwood and evergreen trees to choose from. The trees were sold in paper containers, by the bare root, and 1-gallon pots.
BRANDON W. BOUGHEN, MAg, is the Denton County extension agent with Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service. He can be reached at 940-349-2894 or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.