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Pennsylvania Horticultural Society's Tree Tenders Program Planting Thousands Of New Trees Across Philadelphia Region

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) -- Thousands of new trees are being planted around the region. Research shows the Tree Tenders project from the Pennsylvania Horticultural Society is improving health and saving lives.

We know trees improve the air, but there's now research that shows trees have a number of other health benefits.

They've arrived -- a new delivery of 1,300 trees getting unpacked at the Navy Yard.

"Each of the piles behind me is going to a different neighborhood," Tim Ifill, director of trees at the Pennsylvania Horticultural Society, said.

It's not just a beautification mission. This tree planting program is about your health.

"We have a lot of data that shows that residents who live in neighborhoods like this with a lot of trees experience better health outcomes and are happier and are less stressed and even live longer," Ifill said.

CBS3 met Ifill on the 4400 block of Chestnut Street, where they planted these trees back in 2006.

"We try not to plant all one species in a single place," he said.

The mature trees provide what's known as a tree canopy, which turns out to have a direct impact on health.

"Increasing the city's tree canopy to 30% of the land area would prevent 403 premature deaths annually with the largest proportion in lower income neighborhoods," Michelle C. Kondo, a scientist with the USDA Forest Service, said.

Kondo did the first study analyzing trees and health impacts.

"Cardiovascular disease is lower in greener neighborhoods," Kondo said. "Seeing and viewing nature and green space lowers our stress levels and our blood pressure, helps us be more calm and have a better mood."

Trees also filter the air and reduce summer temperatures and neighborhoods with more trees have less gun violence.

"Having those trees really does provide an added benefit to health in multiple different dimensions," Kondo said.

The program called Tree Tenders has planted over 25,000 trees around the region.

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