Image (c) Sebastian Sharples

Trees absorb noise and can reduce the constant background rumble that comes with living in a city and adds to stress.

A study by scientists at UCL with colleagues in China and Belgium studied a variety of different treees to establish which are best at absorbing sound.

As a general rule of thumb, older trees with thick, rough bark are the best, but overall, the barks of conifers performed better than broad-leaved species.

Images from the study.

The findings should inform species choice for future developments and street planting schemes. The old adage of planting the right tree in the right place still applies, but the new study adds another layer of information to consider; especially alongside busy roads where noise reduction may be a priority.

The list of benefits from living trees now includes:

  1. noise reduction
  2. water absorbtion
  3. oxygen generation
  4. pollution absorbtion
  5. soil retention
  6. humidity control
  7. wind breaks
  8. visual screens
  9. biodiversity support
  10. rainfall capture
  11. shade
  12. fruits, nuts and seeds
  13. landscape enhancement
  14. the simple human joy of seeing or being near trees

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