You think this topic is silly? Oh my! You have no clue. What if we tell you that this could be something that affects your overall health?
Our population is rising exponentially. Our cities are getting crowded, pollution is getting worse by the minute and mankind is frantically on the lookout for fixing the very air we breathe. With more and more of us moving to cities, urban flora and fauna are bearing the brunt of overpopulation.
It is becoming more and more difficult to keep our city air clean. It is common knowledge that plants play a vital role in the purification of air. Which is why, the Govt. and other institutions are coming up with initiatives to plant more trees.
If you live in a gated society, there should probably be some room for planting a few green friends. Maybe you already do have some trees in your compound, but are you sure whether they are the right kind for your location?
The Science Behind How Trees Freshen The Air
That green plants give out oxygen as a byproduct of photosynthesis is something everyone knows. But, there are some other factors which make trees ideal air purifiers. To be more specific, the leaves of the tree are responsible for releasing oxygen. So more the leaves, more will be the O2 that is released back into the air. Further, some trees have been known to absorb fumes and other exhaust gases which forms a major junk of pollution in the air. Such trees will not only release oxygen, they will also do their part in removing toxic gases from the air. And finally, dust and other particulate material will also be caught in the thin waxy layer that coats almost every leaf on the each. So trees with numerous tiny leaves are ideal candidates to protect the air against dust.
Most Popular Tree Choices
In apartment complexes, any vegetation is placed not just for their function, but also for aesthetic value. Which is why the following trees are commonly planted –
The Neem Tree
Scientific name: Azadirachta indica
Known for its immense medicinal value, the neem tree was once a staple in every Indian household. Also called as the Indian Lilac, this is one of the few trees that seem to thrive in a range of climatic conditions. However, they thrive best in hot, humid weather and a little shade. Water requirement is not that high. So If planted in an apartment complex, this tree could aid you in more than one ways. Also, the leaves of this tree are famous for catching dust and other particles in the air around it. Another added benefit of this tree is that it is long living but only requires minimal space.
The Washingtonia Palm
Scientific name: Washingtonia robusta
Palm trees are often used as elements of landscaping architecture because they are relatively easier to maintain as they require little water, grow in almost all kinds of soils and they shed almost nothing. Among the palm family, the Washingtonia is particularly popular these days. These trees are almost always cultivated for ornamental purposes alone and have few or limited medicinal or other beneficial properties. Best grows in areas where the climate is warm and sunny. Coastal areas are ideal. If beauty is what you want at very little effort, this is an ideal choice.
The Gulmohar Tree
Scientific name: Delonix regia
This large tree is native to Madagascar and grows to heights of 12-20m with a crown that is shaped like an umbrella. Gulmohar trees grow best in well drained soil and under conditions where sunlight is plenty. The tree is deciduous and bears flowers which are a bright reddish orange and giving the tree its popular nickname – the flame of the forest. When in full bloom, the tree is quite a vision making it ideal for private gardens and spaces for recreation. Gulmohar trees are known to thrive best in warm climates. Harsh winters may not be tolerated well by this tree, however, since Indian winters are tolerable, it should be ok in most parts.
The Night Blooming Jasmine
Scientific name: Cestrum nocturnum
The raat ki raani or night flowering jasmine is a shrub that grows to maximum heights of 4m. It is more of a bush and so it can be made to grow around a certain pattern. The flowers, known for their beautiful fragrance, are sought after for auspicious events. It grows best with plenty of sunlight and in slightly moist soil, which is easily achieved in apartments with enough staffing. Climates that range from warm to hot are ideal. This is the best way to incorporate natural fragrance into common areas of your apartment and places of worship (if you have on inside the compound).
The Portia Tree
Scientific name: Thespesia populnea
Also called as poovarasu tree in Tamil, the Bendy or the Pacific rosewood is a tree famed for having properties that enable it absorb toxic gases. These are trees that are play a big role in the purification of the air around us. Portia trees also have medicinal values that cures ailments related to skin and is a popular ingredient in natural astringents. The trees grow up to heights of 15m and have dense, scaly covers which profile ample shade. They grow best in deep, rich, well drained soil with moderate sunlight. It is said that coastal areas are the best places to raise these trees. This is a flowering tree and its flowers are known for their signature mild fragrance.
The African Tulip
Scientific name: Spathodea campanulata
A fragrant, flowering tree, the African Tulip is a very popular ornamental tree across the world. The tree in itself is quite large, has a dense cover of glossy leaves and bears beautiful orange flowers. While the peak bloom is in spring, these trees have been known to flower throughout the year as well. African Tulip trees require moist, deep, rich soil and plenty of sunlight. They do not tolerate harsh heats so cooler places are preferable. Add them to your apartment for a visual feast!
The Mountain Ebony
Scientific name: Bauhinia variegata
Known as Kanchan in India, this tree is fragrant enough to fill the air surrounding it with a very calming scent. These trees can grow up to heights of 9-10m. In some cases the trees grow only to around 4m if the climatic conditions are not favorable enough. The issue with these trees is that they shed leaves which could be a problem, so best avoid near manicured lawns. The mountain ebony comes in a handful of varieties where the prime differentiation factor is the color of the blooms (among others, of course). They are suited for almost all Indian climates, although warm would work best and a range of soil types, so having this green friend is a sure way to perfume up your compound.
The Mango Tree
Scientific name: Mangifera indica
We could not omit this from our list. Many childhood memories are associated with a local aam ke ped. This is a native Indian tree, much enjoyed for its fruit and shade. Since several varieties of it is available across the country, you can maybe have an area dedicated to different types of mangoes in your compound. These trees could grow to heights of around 30m, so it is recommended that you plant one in a large space. They will require soil that is consistently moist and mineral rich. Coastal areas and tropics are always the best choice, but they will manage on varied climates too. Post their fruit bearing years, the tree can be used for lumber.
The Eucalyptus Tree
Scientific name: Eucalyptus tereticornis
A tree that’s widely appreciated for the medicinal values of its oil, the eucalyptus is a tree that thrives well in a range of climatic conditions. In fact, there are different varieties of Eucalypt for cold and warm climates, so your chances of finding one suited for your climate are pretty good. They do tolerate a range of climatic conditions. These trees grow quite tall, sometimes up to 300m while their crowns do not branch out that much. The trees are evergreen and do bear pretty cream flowers which are seasonal. Eucalypt requires well drained soil, preferably loamy and plenty of sunlight – arrangements that can be easily made in apartment complexes. It’s signature smell is famous for properties of relieving congestion and having a few such trees is a good idea.
To Tree Or Not To Tree?
Planting a tree, even a single tree is a noble act in itself. In today’s time, where mankind’s actions are actively ruining the very air we breathe, trees and plants are becoming vital. And so, we applaud your decision to plant trees in your apartment compound. And here’s a gentle request – encourage your residents to plant some green friends inside their homes as well. Balconies, living rooms, window seats, wherever there is space. Let’s join hands and counter the harm we’ve caused to mother nature! Do share this article with your friends and do tell us if you have other tree suggestions!
Authored By: Ambili Mukundan