Planting Trees Increase Value Of Rentals By $21 A Month

A new study by the U.S. Forest Service found that planting trees along the perimeter of a rental property increase the rates the landlord could charge by $21 a month.

Planting right on the property increase the value by at least $5 a month.

The survey was done by combining the price of rental listings on Craigslist for Portland, Oregon with tree data gleaned from Google Earth.

Of course, it was sponsored by the Forest Service, known dendrophiliacs, so there is a risk of bias.

The effect of urban trees on the rental price of single-family homes in Portland,
(PDF) [Urban Forestry & Urban Greening]
Plant a Tree, Boost Your Property Value [GOOD] (Thanks to c-side!)


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  1. FirePuff says:

    I was raised in Portland, so I have to ask… where did they get the No Tree figures from? At least in SE Portland, I hardly recall any properties not having a tree or two somewhere.

  2. Lethe says:

    This doesn’t surprise me at all. My bf and I just purchased a townhouse that’s only about 20% bigger than the one I currently have, but is about 50% more expensive, mainly because it backs onto a greenspace with a river and bike trails in the middle of the city. It’s also closer to work, but the main benefit was the view from the back.

    • pecan 3.14159265 says:

      In the DC area, a lot of the subdivisions basically came about from developers taking out all the trees, building homes, then putting trees back in and charging people extra to live near wooded areas and patches of trees. It’s an insane practice, and I don’t see why people pay for it when they know that’s what developers do. It would be so much better if the developers didn’t charge extra for that privilege, or better yet, didn’t have to take out all the trees.

      • frankrizzo:You're locked up in here with me. says:

        Unfortunately there is an extensive root network for these trees underground. Too much damage from excavating can destroy the tree. Some of the bigger/older specimens take a few years to show decline from the damage. Then the homeowner usually gets stuck with a costly removal bill.

  3. Nigerian prince looking for business partner says:

    I’m not surprised.

    Where I live, the very worst, cheapest rentals never have any trees, landscaping, or anything that requires any maintenance. All those get taken down as soon as the first fines levied by the city.

  4. Mr. Fix-It says: "Canadian Bacon is best bacon!" says:

    Dendrophiliac is a strange word; as is homeovestism. :U

  5. bhr says:

    I don’t believe the basic numbers used in study at all. Yes, ringing a property with trees in many cases might increase value slightly, but at what point is it actually a financial gain? and how can you really quantify it?

    I wonder how much the government paid to produce this study? Maybe that money would be better spent actually planting trees.

    • Mr. Fix-It says: "Canadian Bacon is best bacon!" says:

      I’m pretty sure potted trees cost more than 21 bucks a pop; I’ve been to Home Depot recently. :I

      (Well, actually, it was a Kent’s, which is a local business that’s more or less identical)

      • Swintah says:

        Umm, $21 per *month.* So, if the tree costs $210 to purchase and install, then the landlord would recoup their cost in ten months. Thereafter, sweet, sweet profits.

  6. rpm773 says:

    As a dendrophobe, I’d like you to keep your dendrophilous agenda away from my hard, barren property.

    And anyone who’s played Simcity 4 knows this. You fight the urban blight with trees, baby!

  7. CosmosHuman says:

    Don’t tell my slumlord, as I can’t afford anymore rent increases! Well actually the majority of the trees here on the property are in such poor shape a strong wind will take them down. The are too cheap to hire an arborist.

  8. Alliance to Restore the Republic of the United States of America says:

    Dendrophiliacs, homeovestism, arborist. I’m learning stuff today.

    • Mr. Fix-It says: "Canadian Bacon is best bacon!" says:

      Nothing useful to acquiring gainful employment or saving money, but learning all the same. :3

  9. marillion says:

    As a (not forest service) forester who works almost exclusively with private land owners, I can tell you that well maintained trees add real value to a home.

    At the very least, well placed and spaced trees help reduce the money you pay for heating and cooling. They also add a sense of privacy (both real and esthetic).

    For rural landowners, trees and other ground cover protect homes, crops and livestock when they are used to create windbreaks, which also help reduce energy costs and help prevent erosion.

    • ElleAnn says:

      Conversely, having poorly maintained trees can reduce your property value or make it more difficult to sell your house. We just bought a house, and one property was saw had 6 dead or dying trees that needed to come down on tiny cramped lot. We figured that it would cost a substantial amount of money to remove those trees. Another house had a 50ft+ tall elm tree with many large dead branches overhanging the house. Ugh. We didn’t even consider putting in offers on these houses.

  10. roben.anderson says:

    I too grew up in Portland…we had trees in the yards of the houses I lived in, along with my relative’s houses. Rent in Portland is high to begin with. It’s an expensive place to live. Trees look nice. I live in a house we’re renting that have young trees, it’ll look a lot nicer when they are bigger, but i dont know if i’ll be there that long.

  11. dosdelon says:

    Not for me. I’ll admit that it makes it look prettier and gives you more shade & privacy, but it also gives burglars a place to lurk and it gives the tenant more leaves to rake.

    • Rachacha says:

      “…it gives the tenant more leaves to rake” Not if you use evergreen trees. Several years ago, my parents lined the back of their property with arborvitae trees. Other than watering , the only maintenance they did was to trim the top of the trees to encourage outward growth the first few years. They now have a 20 foot tall wall of trees along the back of the property that is nearly impossible to walk through and provides complete privacy. All they have to do now is trim the sides of the trees removing any branches that are getting too long.

      • frankrizzo:You're locked up in here with me. says:

        Harder to grow grass in the soil around evergreens due to the acidity from the trees. Same with oak trees.

  12. lettucefactory says:

    In 2007, I owned a house in a new suburb that had only little baby trees. I scornfully called it the “scorched earth” look and cast envious glances at older, established neighborhoods with thick tree cover. And those houses did cost more, which is why we didn’t buy one.

    Today, I rent a house in an older, established neighborhood with thick tree cover. Yay, right? Wrong. Not a fucking day goes by that I don’t miss my “scorched earth” yard that took almost no maintainence. I work full-time and have two small kids, and a tight budget; I don’t have time to rake leaves, or the money to hire someone to trim branches (my cheap landlord isn’t going to do it) and every time there’s a storm of any impact, a tree falls on my street because apparently a lot of them are in bad shape. In 2010, one missed my infant son’s bedroom window by about 4 inches. This past summer, one fell where I routinely park my car (by some amazing stroke of luck, I’d parked across the street that day.)

    As soon as the lease is up, I’m moving to a concrete bunker with no plant life within miles. Okay, I may be exaggerating, but you get the idea. I absolutely agreed with the premise of this article – I was willing to pay more to rent a house with some trees – until I actually lived it.

  13. SexCpotatoes says:

    Okay, cool, I figure I can cram 100 trees into my yard, move out, and rent it for market value, plus $2000!

  14. caradrake says:

    Although, it’s also possible for the renter to profit, too. Based on where the trees are, and how many of them there are, they are very effective at providing shade (lower AC bills), and also blocking out the noise (no $ attachment, but definitely worthwhile for enjoyment of the property).

    We have a nice tree in the front yard of our current rental. Seems to keep our room many degrees cooler than the rest of the house, plus it’s nice to look out onto. We also have a large row of trees between our property and our neighbors, which helps to block the noise from the nearby road.

  15. Kate says:

    I think VA loan rules require there to be at least 2 trees on the property.

  16. D007H says:

    What about the cost of maintaining them? My sister used to own a rental property and it was a pain to trim and clean up all of those trees. If they had grown any bigger, she would’ve had to hire a gardener and it would cost more than $21 a month.

    • frankrizzo:You're locked up in here with me. says:

      I’ve got about 25 trees in my one acre yard. They are in the 20-25 foot range. What maintenance do you speak of? I mulch the leaves with my tractor and that is it. Only eight are evergreens.

      • lettucefactory says:

        How close are those trees to your house? I imagine a tree in the middle of an acre, not close to any structure, wouldn’t need much tending at all unless something was obviously amiss.

        But we have three trees that touch our roof, because the lots on my street are narrow and the trees are big. (Actually, none of these are in our yard, come to think of it. But the neighbors are so close, it feels like they might as well be.) Keeping them well-trimmed is an expense a responsible property owner would take on, so that too much debris isn’t falling on the roof and clogging the gutters, so that squirrels have less quick access to the roof, and so that you don’t risk a big old branch crashing into the living room during a bad storm. Also, one of my neighbors has a black walnut tree and the nuts fall all over our house and yard – boy, are those things a pain to clean up (it’s not like you can mow over them.) If they crack open on your deck or front steps or roof, they leave stains, which are also not free to fix.

        One of my neighbor’s trees has actually bent and uprooted the fence between our two lots, but neither my landlord nor the neighbor seems concerned about it. If one of them wanted to fix it one day, I assume it would be a non-trivial cost.

        All that said, I never remember my parents doing a damn thing to maintain the trees in our yard growing up. They certainly wouldn’t have had the money for an arborist, and they certainly wouldn’t have tried themselves. But nothing that grew in our yard overhung the house or even threatened to.

      • D007H says:

        The house is located within a fairly urban area and all the nearby yards are pretty small, probably a tenth of yours. This means leaves, debris, or fruits from the trees are always on the ground, roofs, near fences, sidewalks, ect. Several of them are right next to the neighbors, so we get complaints about overgrown branches and the roots doing damage to the fence.
        There’s also this pesky tree that constantly drops flowers and leaves for most of the year over the front lawn. I rake it and it’ll be dirty again within 48 hours. It’s one thing when you’re maintaining your own house, but it’s a pain to constantly do it for a rental. Of course, hiring a gardener would run at lease $100 a month around here. It’s different from living in a more surburban or rural areas I guess. That’s why in my current address, I only have small palm trees.

    • lettucefactory says:

      My landlord just wrote up a lease that said lawn care was the tenant’s responsibility. And I signed it, like an idiot. I’d rather have your sister for a landlord!

  17. raydee wandered off on a tangent and got lost says:

    So if we chop down all the trees in the neighborhood, rent will go down, right?


    Oddly enough, the DHS (or so I’ve been told) removed the trees from the front of our townhouse row, because of their proximity to the local gas main. It’s a real shame because they were lovely flowering cherries (and one spindly, ugly little maple, poor thing). I’ve grown slightly more accustomed to it, but every time I come home, I am ” D: TREES. D: “

  18. Princess Beech loves a warm cup of treason every morning says:

    Can I just plant a couple trees in my apartment and deduct $21 from the rent, then?