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The Six Karmic Benefits of Adopting a New York City Street Tree

New York City Street Tree

There are more than 680,000 mapped trees in New York City - with many of them living in the sidewalk bed that exists on so many streets throughout the five boroughs. The varieties are endless. You have your London Planetree and Thornless honey-locusts in Brooklyn; Red Maples in Manhattan; Goldenrain trees in the Bronx; Pin Oak trees in Queens and Callery Pears in in Staten Island - approximately 240 different species in the city overall.

With Spring around the corner and many of us still hopeful for making resolutions of change and renewal in the New Year - we here at BK ROT Compost wanted to tell you about the six karmic benefits for adopting one of New York City's Leafiest as one of your own this year.

If you don't know what karma is, it's the simple idea that you get what you give to others. Studies have shown that it offers benefits for pro-social behavior, work motivation, personal well-being and success.

But it doesn't just have to be limited to our interactions with other human beings, here are six major reasons why giving good karma to a street tree near you is one of the best things you can do in 2018.

#1: You're actually healing the circle of life

The earth operates as a "closed system" - meaning that it makes everything it needs to make sure that its inhabitants can live and survive on this planet. Trees are a huge part of that system because they absorb pollutants through their leaf surfaces and harmful carbon emissions in the atmosphere. In fact, a tree can absorb between 26 and 48 pound of carbon per year.

Street trees are unable to fully contribute to this process however because they grow in limited spaces cut into cement sidewalks. Like any cramped New York City apartment, these tree pits don't offer the room needed for a street tree's roots to draw nutrients from the soil and sequester as much carbon dioxide as they could.

When you decide to care for a street tree by watering it, removing weeds, and adding recycled mulch or compost - you're giving street trees access to the microorganisms, fungi, air and water necessary for them to take part in that beautiful circle of life.

#2: You're protecting trees from harmful weather elements

It seems counter-intuitive to think that something from nature needs protection from nature but as anyone who's lived in New York City can tell you - this isn't the most natural place. Unlike their country cousins - street trees grow in dense, compact soil - leaving them exposed to harsh sun in the summer and over-salted sidewalks in the winter.

Salt is especially harmful because it harms the microbial life of the soil that plants and trees depend on to grow. When it's sprayed from salt trucks or passing cars after a winter storm, it can cause salt burn on buds, leaves, and small twigs. On the ground, it can absorb the water that was meant for street trees - limiting their growth even more.

#3: You're also protecting trees from the most harmful element of all - humans

Of course nothing compares to the trouble that humans cause street trees - first by standing on their soil and making it even more compact and second by using sidewalk beds as trash receptacles.

The Department of Sanitation collected close to four million tons of residential waste last year, with a good deal of that garbage ending up in the street. And that doesn't even account for the damage that comes from public urination and pet droppings. When humans and animals use sidewalk beds as their personal bathrooms - it disrupts the delicate chemical balance of the soil. This waste can also literally burn tree trunks and absolutely blight a city's plant life.

Installing a tree guard around the perimeter of a tree bed can help protect a tree from wayward dogs - and humans. Adding just three inches of mulch t to the top of a tree bed can do even more - by serving as a buffer for a young from human feet and the paws of pets.

#4: Using compost for street trees helps reduce your waste footprint.

Do you know your environmental footprint? Chances are you have a decent one - especially if you order packages from Amazon, eat out for lunch, or get your groceries delivered to your ap