The best trees for shade and clean air

In this article from Georgia Magazine, Davey's Scott Maco and Chris Heim tell Georgia residents why their trees are the hardest-working in America.

Posted: December, 2014 

Ever wonder who has the hardest working trees in the country? Look no farther … they’re nestled in our backyard. 

According to new research, trees in Atlanta work the hardest. This report from the U.S. Forest Service and The Davey Institute, a tree science company based in Ohio, details how urban trees in different regions across the country save lives every year due to their ability to improve air quality. 

Atlanta’s trees clean the air at a higher rate than any of the 10 other cities in the United States studied.

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“From San Francisco to New York City, the trees in Atlanta beat out every other city, when it comes to removing fine particles from the air,” says Scott Maco, a Davey Institute expert and research urban forester from Seattle, Wa. “It’s no surprise, since Atlanta has a reputation as the ‘City in the Forest.’”

Why are Georgia’s trees the hardest-working in the country? Maco says it really comes down to two things. “First, Atlanta has a large amount of tree canopy,” he says. “And second, those trees are exposed to relatively high concentrations of air pollutants, which allow them to produce more clean air.”

Want to stay at No. 1? Maco has one simple piece of advice for Georgia homeowners. Plant more trees.

“When you plant a tree, you get to reap the benefits of trees all year long. Trees do a lot more than clean the air and save lives. They save you money by lowering energy costs,” Maco notes. 

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