Little Known Facts About Trees

December 27, 2017

Trees have been a staple of the earth for more than 300 million years. They’ve served as food sources and housing for countless creatures throughout time. Trees have been shown to make us calmer, happier, and more creative. Of course, a healthy tree is likely to give a nice boost to our home’s value when it’s time to sell. But what about all the little-known facts about trees? Keep reading to check out some of the favorites we learned from this article on Mother Nature Network.

  1. Earth has more than 60,000 known tree species – Last April, scientists looked at data from museums, botanical gardens, and agricultural centers and found there are 60,065 tree species known to man. These include everything from the ash tree in your yard to the limestone-bound tree known as Abarema abbottii found only in the Dominican Republic.
  2. More than half of all species exist in a single country – Nearly 58 percent of all species are single-country endemics. This means that each species occurs naturally within the borders of a single nation. The highest totals for such tree species are found in Brazil, Colombia, and Indonesia.
  3. Before trees, there were giant fungi – About 400 million years ago, a mysterious fungus known as Prototaxites grew large trunks up to three feet wide and 26 feet in height. There were no trees at this time.
  4. The first known tree was a fern-like plant – Experts confirmed that the earliest known tree is Wattieza, identified from 385-million-year-old fossils found in present-day New York. The plant stood 26 feet tall and formed the first known forests. Though it lacked leaves, it grew frond-like branches with “branchlets” resembling a bottlebrush.
  5. Trees produce chemicals to combat enemies – Rarely do we think of trees as savvy, intelligent creatures. But they really are. For one thing, they have a keen ability to produce chemicals to fend off leaf-eating insects. Not only that, but some trees send airborne chemical signals to each other in preparation for an insect attack. Some of these signals have been shown to attract predators and parasites that kill the insects. Contrary to what you may have originally thought, by no means is a healthy tree passive and helpless.
  6. Some trees can drink up to 500 gallons of water daily – Many mature trees require a significant amount of water on a daily basis. Take an oak tree, for example. Such a species is able to drink more than 40,000 gallons of water in one year (109 gallons per day). A giant sequoia, meanwhile, can consume a whopping 500 gallons a day. Not surprisingly, thirsty trees can limit flooding from heavy rain, especially in low-lying areas like river plains. In turn, trees reduce the risk of erosion and property damage from flash floods.
  7. Trees help us breathe – We bet you didn’t know that a mature, leafy tree produces enough oxygen for two to 10 people per year. Plus, city trees are one of the most cost-effective methods of curbing urban air pollution levels and staving off the urban heat island effect. It’s estimated that pollution removal by urban trees saves 850 lives per year and $6.8 billion in total U.S. healthcare costs.  
  8. Trees can lower stress, fight crime, and raise property values – Humans have an innate love of nature known as biophilia. But there’s more to a tree’s stress-reducing ability than this. When we’re exposed to chemicals released by trees (phytoncides), we may enjoy positive outcomes such as reduced blood pressure, reduced anxiety, and an increased pain threshold. It’s important to know, also, that mature trees add an average of 10 percent to a property’s value. Lastly, urban trees are correlated with lower crime rates.  


At Pro Tree Service in Chicago, we provide the highest quality of work at an affordable price. Our team has been helping local residents with their tree care since 1989. When you come to us, we make it a point that you understand all of the relevant risks and costs. This way, you can make the most informed decision possible. Rest assured that you won’t have to worry about hidden fees or gimmicks.

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