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Trees Give Loved Ones a Green, Growing Goodbye

Whether you or a loved one has chosen a traditional cemetery burial or an alternative, there’s often a desire by those left behind to place a memorial...

Living Tributes with Memorial Trees

Whether you or a loved one has chosen a traditional cemetery burial or an alternative, there’s often a desire by those left behind to place a memorial in a setting that reminds you of their interests, passions and lifestyle.  

For many who loved the great outdoors while they were alive, nature provides the perfect setting.

Remembering Them in a Public Green Space

As AARP explains, our parks are “places where memories are made, honored or stored.”

Public green spaces are a great place to honor memories with a plaque, bench, tree or donation that honors a loved one. Sometimes contributing financially toward the stewardship of a favorite place is a way of honoring your loved one by supporting the causes they believed in. 

An online search for tree, bench or park donations should help you find out if your city or one nearby has such a program. Whether you live in Boulder, Colorado, Kirkland, Washington or New York City, the parks department will likely have a program to help you remember your loved one outdoors.

Where to Purchase or Donate a Memorial Tree

For those who want their ashes buried under a particular memorial tree, a Better Place Forests is another natural choice. The company, based in California, lets you choose a tree and includes a marker and ceremony. Their memorial forests are located around the country and the list continues to grow, just like the trees do.

Our program through American Forests is another option for a Memorial Tree, a Tribute Grove or Legacy Wood.

The U.S. Forest Service is supported by tax dollars, but you can bolster their tree planting efforts through several organizations including the Arbor Day Foundation. Many charities will acknowledge the donation with a card in your loved one’s memory. Current help is needed with forests in Oregon and Minnesota. One Tree Planted is another nonprofit with the aim of planting trees all over the world. One Tree Planted has planted over 91,543,657 trees in more than 78 countries since 2014.

Want to know more about the laws, regulations and cost of planting memorial trees? Planning site Cake has a helpful “how-to” on the subject. And, the site also offers other ideas on other DIY options including indoor trees and holiday trees and ornaments.

DIY Backyard Memorial Trees

Even a DIY tree, bench or rock in your own backyard can serve as a memorial. According to LovetoKnow, you’ll want to follow these steps to plant your own memorial tree:

1. Choose the Type of Tree to Plant

You should choose a tree that’s appropriate to your region and consider how tall and wide it will become.

2. Determine Your ‘Hardiness’ Zone

Check with your nursery or look online to ensure the tree is appropriate for the range of temperatures in your area.

3. Consider the Tree’s Symbolic Meaning

Did you know trees, like gemstones or flowers, have a symbolic meaning? While a lilac symbolizes rebirth and renewal, a pecan symbolizes wealth (see LovetoKnow for a chart).

4. Find the Best Spot

You’ll want a place where you can see the memorial tree, but you’ll also want to consider how large it will grow and how close you want it to your home.

5. Dig a Hole and Plant

Make sure you dig a hole that is a foot deeper and twice as wide as your rootball, according to LoveToKnow. You’ll want to loosen the edges of the hole and water deeply, adding two to four inches when done, the site suggests.

Whether you dedicate a tree through a nonprofit or business, plant your own, or opt for a bench or park donation, we hope this growing tribute helps create a peaceful place to remember your loved one in the healing environment of nature.

To learn about another unique way to memorialize your loved one, take a look at our article Cremation Jewelry: a Growing Trend to Memorialize Loved Ones.