One question we receive frequently at The Gifted Tree concerns the role trees play in the keeping our water supply safe and clean. When one thinks of forests and majestic trees, a lot of us understand the vital role trees play in helping clean the air we breathe by acting as filters and removing harmful particles and pollutants. Those same people are less familiar with the role trees play in purifying our water sources, including those that provide drinking water for millions of Americans every day.
Water is probably the most vital resource for our survival. Whether it be for drinking water or washing our clothes, the average American uses an estimated 80-100 gallons of water per day. For many of us, having access to clean drinking water and running water in our homes is a necessity that we often take for granted.
People are not the only ones who count on water for survival. Trees and animals also need water for their existence. Water availability has a direct impact on the health of forests and their inhabitants. Trees are made up of more than 50 percent water and need a steady source of it in order to grow and stay healthy. A single mature oak can consume over 40,000 gallons of water in a year!
Okay, trees need water to survive, but how do they help in improving our water quality? Trees improve water quality by slowing rain as it falls to the Earth, and helping it soak into the soil. Trees then serve as natural sponges, collecting and filtering rainfall and releasing it slowly into streams and rivers. Tress are the most effective land cover for maintenance of water quality. They prevent soil from eroding into our waterways which contribute to poor water quality, reduce storm water runoff, and lessen flood damage. Furthermore, the movement of water from the ground, through trees and leaves and back to the environment, allows for clouds to form and significant precipitation to fall.
Having a buffer of forestland by streams and riverbanks does more than just filtering the water. Planting and maintaining woody vegetation along streams provide a wealth of benefits, including filtering sediment, removing nitrogen and phosphorous leaching from adjacent agricultural land uses, and providing stability to the bank through a wood root system. Forest cover has been directly linked to reducing drinking water treatment costs and helping to recharge the water table by allowing water to enter the ground, so the more forest in a source water watershed, the lower the cost to treat that water.
Now you know another of the multitude of benefits trees provide. Luckily, one easy way to protect and clean our water supply is to plant trees, and The Gifted Tree can help. We plant gift trees to show you care – memorial trees in remembrance of a lost loved one, human or pet, or gift trees to celebrate a milestone event. Not only will you be remembered due to the unique and innovative presentation tree certificate the recipient will receive, but you are giving the world a gift too – clean water.