i-Tree is a website designed to help property owners decide which tree species they want to plant and where they should plant them in their home or commercial property landscape. I-Tree was developed by some of the big players in U.S. tree care as an educational and practical tool, and is FREE to use. Combining data points and technology, this website can tell you actual benefits of planting a tree in a specific spot in your yard. The software measured and/or predicts a number of tree benefits, including:
air quality improvements, and
sequestered carbon dioxide.
The above information helps homeowners make a more educated decision of where to plant new trees. You can select a tree species and location and calculate the benefits you can expect based on the species and location in relation to your dwelling.
Estimate Future Benefits of Trees Planted Today
Future growth metrics are another useful piece of information i-Tree offers. Knowing what to expect in 20 years in terms of size can aid in exact tree placement, as providing a tree enough space to grow will increase its chances of long-term viability. Placing a tree too close to a structure is one of the most common reasons for tree removal down the road. Unfortunately, this is when the tree has reached a stage in life where they are creating the most benefits for our property and our environment.
Benefits Increase as Trees Age
The long-term viability statistics for a given tree planting is important. As you click through the site, i-Tree lays bare how important keeping a tree for the long haul is to realizing the tree’s most powerful benefits. Incorrect placement or planting techniques can shorten a tree’s life span, thus missing out on the real benefits of planting the tree. Think of it like your retirement savings: real benefits are realized over the long run, not in the first five years. Trees are similar. A 10” diameter tree certainly provides benefits, but when it is 20” in diameter 20 years later, we realize a great deal more of the measurable benefits shown by i-Tree.
This discussion leads me to two of the most important services Heartwood provides. We want to plant as many trees as possible for future benefits, while also maintaining today’s mature trees because they are create massive benefits right now. Related, i-Tree can also be used to measure the impact of removing a mature tree on your property in terms of benefits lost.
How to Use i-Tree, Step by Step
1. Enter Property Address
iTree will bring up your property location in Google Maps, showing the buildings on your property.
2. Draw Structures
Follow the instructions to outline the structures on your property, including any outbuildings.
3. Place Tree(s) on Property
Choosing one species at a time, make pinpoint tree plantings on your land. Note how i-Tree shows the most beneficial zones on your property for the given tree.
4. Model Crown Growth over Time
Click the “Model Crown Growth” button to initiate a time-lapse illustration of how large each tree’s canopy will become over time.
5. Estimate Benefits
i-Tree provides four benefit-specific estimates, as well as an Overall Benefits pie chart, to reflect the estimated benefits the trees you “planted” will provide for your property.
While most of us understand “trees are good for us,” i-Tree helps us discover and understand real-world costs and benefits of the urban canopy in tangible terms. This kind of tool helps tree care professionals and property owners make more informed decisions related to tree planting and tree care in general. Have a look at i-Tree and if you have questions related to tree planting and planning, please contact us.