Publication Date


Document Type

News Article

Organizational Units

Sturm College of Law


Air pollution, Smog absorption, Energy solutions


Bruce Finley's article lauded trees for absorbing smog. Trees also mitigate CO2 emissions. But not all trees are equally beneficial: some species emit more volatile organic compounds than they absorb. In urban environments, we need more restrictions to avoid negative impacts on those around us: e.g., wood burning or watering restrictions. Sunlight plays an increasing role in energy solutions - for solar energy and urban gardens. Trees that mature at over 70 feet can create shade pollution for neighbors up to three lots away. Several of the "right trees" for smog absorption are also those that mature at lower heights: apple, hawthorn, pear and peach. Where we plant new trees in the city is also important. Branches of deciduous trees still block critical southern exposures catching the low winter sun. So, we should plant more trees, as long as they are the right trees in the right place.

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