COLUMBIA - The Missouri Department of Transportation renewed its partnership with the Missouri Department of Conservation for the sixth year of its "Trees For Tomorrow" program this week. This is good news for Missouri's trees, especially after this summer's drought.
"We've seen a loss of some trees already, and we'll continue to see the stress appear in years to come in this drought, I'm afraid," said forester Ann Koenig.
As part of the "Trees For Tomorrow" program, MoDOT purchases 250,000 trees from the Department of Conservation, which are then given to youth groups throughout Missouri to plant. These trees are meant to replace ones lost during construction activities or, like this year, to replace ones killed due to the drought.
"If you lose a tree that's 20 inches in diameter, it's going to take a long time for a small tree to reach that size. So if you can plant one or even a few in its place, that's great," said Koenig.
Conservation employees said taking the time to maintain Missouri's forestry has a greater impact than people think.
Trees do more than just filter clean air or help the environment. They can also benefit you at home.
"You can plant trees on the east and west side of your home and it can reduce cooling costs by 20 percent. And in terms of property values, street trees increase your home value in Missouri by about $7 thousand," said Koenig.
To see an estimated value of the trees around your home, Koenig suggested home owners check out the National Tree Benefits Calculator.