The Giving Tree

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Trees not only add aesthetic appeal to a property – they also boost home value.

September 24, 2009
Nicole Wisniewski

The ISA says a $200,000 house with three mature trees on the property might owe as much as $30,000 of its value to the trees.  Home values nationwide have dropped an average of 20 percent during the recession, but one young entrepreneur says some homeowners could recoup 80 percent or more of that lost equity over the next three years even if the housing market doesn’t rebound. The secret, he says? “Plant trees.”

John Pounders, 23, of Florence, Ala., started seven years ago when he was 16 years old. The company sells trees online to landscape contractors across the U.S. He thinks he has at least one solution to homeowners’ home equity woes, and landscape contractors can profit from the results.

“It is a fact that trees add an average of 15 percent or so to the value of your home,” Pounders says. “Nationwide, home prices have dipped an average of about 20 percent, and by simply having trees planted on their properties, homeowners could actually recoup a great deal of this lost equity for less than pennies on the dollar and in a short period of time.”

Experts back up Pounders’ theory. According to Eric Emad of the International Society of Arboriculture, studies show trees may account for up to 15 percent of the value of a residential property. “For example, a $200,000 house on a lot with three mature trees might owe as much as $30,000 of its value to the trees,” he says. “Assuming all three trees are of equal value, each tree would be valued at $10,000.” 

And trees that are considered fast growing, such as Leyland Cypress or Thuja Green Giants, which are commonly used as privacy fences and range in height from 18 inches to 3 feet when they are shipped, can grow as much as 5 feet per year, bringing instant impact in addition to the added value. These trees tend to sell for between $2 and $18 each, depending on their size and maturity at the time of shipping, Pounder says. “When you consider how much value these trees can add to a home,” he adds, “I don’t know of any other home improvement project with so much potential ROI.”

When buying trees online, contractors should make sure the seller ships via UPS or another reputable shipping company and offers the ability to select a shipping date for when they’d like their trees to arrive, Pounders suggests. If ordering in bulk early, he recommends contractors ask for a bulk discount, and store and water the trees properly until they are ready to plant.

The author is editor of Lawn & Landscape. Send your online savings or revenue generating ideas to