These live oaks along Argent Way in Sun City were planted many years ago. Mature oaks provide ample shade, habitat for birds and other critters, and one tree releases enough oxygen to support two adults. ROSEMARY T. SMITH

When Del Webb engineers first laid out Sun City Hilton Head, one of their goals was to preserve the natural beauty of the area. The most obvious feature of the landscape was its trees, which were abundant and thriving.

Unfortunately, in order to put in roads and build houses, many of these trees had to go. Fortunately, many of the those sacrificed trees were replaced with new trees, many of them Live Oaks, in yards and along the streets.

Thanks to the forward thinking of the planners, residents now enjoy the tranquility that living among trees affords.

Walking or biking in older neighborhoods all over Bluffton is greatly enhanced by the shade offered by their older, more established roadside trees.

Trees offer far more benefits than just their beauty. A single mature tree can absorb carbon dioxide at a rate of 48 pounds per year and release enough oxygen back into the atmosphere to support two adults.

As our world strives to combat the climate crisis, our neighborhood trees do a small part in helping to reduce the carbon dioxide that fuels the crisis. Suburban trees help offset the “heat island” effect resulting from our community’s asphalt rooftops, glass and pavement. Neighborhoods with mature trees can be up to 10 degrees cooler in summer heat than neighborhoods without trees.

Tree foliage filters dust and can help remove toxic pollutants from the atmosphere. Mature trees absorb noise, are traffic calming, reduce stress, and create a peaceful place to relax or socialize. Trees intercept rainwater – aiding soil absorption for gradual release into streams, preventing flooding, filtering toxins and impurities, and extending water availability into dry months when it is most needed.

Trees protect homes by slowing wind speed. Mature trees and shrubs in the landscape increase property values 5 to 10%.

Native hardwood trees, especially oaks, are critical for birds. Oaks support 534 species of butterfly and moth caterpillars. These caterpillars are not only the primary food source for migrating and breeding birds, but are the essential food for the survival of baby birds.

If you are considering removing an oak tree, please reconsider. Our community needs as many trees as we can keep.

David W. Smith is a member of the Sun City Bird Club.