Mature trees are among Cayman’s most precious natural resources so it makes sense to preserve them wherever possible.
In the past it has been the tendency for developers to bulldoze and clear land when constructing new properties.
However, as people become more environmentally aware and cost conscious, there has been a move to save Cayman’s trees.
Trees can even be transplanted from one spot to another, preserving the islands’ natural habitat and eco-system.
“Any species of tree can be moved with the right team and machinery,” explains landscape architect Sandy Urquhart.
As well as their aesthetic value, trees can provide a valuable source of shade around a property, helping to reduce air-conditioning energy bills.
“If you plant a tree today on the west side of your home, in five years your energy bill should be three per cent less,” says Sandy.
“In 15 years, the savings will be nearly 12 per cent. In one study, 83 per cent of realtors believe that mature trees have a ‘strong or moderate impact’ on the saleability of homes listed for under $150, 000, and on homes over $250,000, this perception increases to 98 per cent. Landscaping, especially with trees, can increase property values as much as 20 per cent.”
Relocating a mature tree in Cayman can also save a fortune on landscaping fees, compared to importing a similar tree.
“We have strict pest control regulations in place that the USA follows, which means the tree would have to be prepared by one of the Cayman Islands’ approved nurseries at a cost,” Sandy explains. “
To have the tree planted on Cayman could cost you $20,000, or even more, depending on the value of the tree.”
As an imported tree would also have to be severely pruned and flat-packed for importation, it would also take a long time for the tree to regain shape and form.
“Development is inevitable on our island but we should ensure that it is designed to sustain a high quality of life,” says Sandy.
“Trees are a beautiful integral piece of that complex puzzle.”