A memorial tree can be a meaningful way to remember and honor a loved one. Connecting to nature's beauty and timelessness, you can experience the joy of watching something grow that is connected to your beloved friend or relative. A tree can be a symbol of a life and of love (see tree symbolism graphic) as well as a physical location that you can visit.
Memorial trees are planted in honor of a person who has passed away. These memorial trees sometimes have plaques with the honoree’s name, birth and death dates, or a short motto. Memorial trees can be planted with or without the person's ashes. You may choose to select a tree in a park where groves of trees are planted in memoriam. Memorial parks and gardens are quiet, contemplative places where trees can be purchased as memorials. Some families prefer to plant the tree on private property -- at the family home or place of personal meaning. Wherever you choose to plant your memorial tree, the practice can be very healing as a life-affirming way to remember and honor a loved one.
Here are some things to keep in mind when considering a remembrance tree:
- Tree care: A tree is a living thing and may require a lot of care and attention. Are you up for the challenge? It can be a real triumph to grow a tree, but may be a disappointment if you don’t succeed. Be prepared -- this may take a a few attempts and some time. For best success, you may want to ask for assistance from an arborist or landscape company.
- Growing conditions: Will the tree be suitable for your location? You will need to know what can grow in your region. Your local Nature Conservancy is a great resource for choosing an appropriate tree for your area. See our graphic of some popular trees from each growing zone in the US.
- Space: How big will the tree be when mature? You may not have room for an oak tree in an urban yard. You may want to consider an ornamental shrub like lilac.
- Incorporate the ashes: You can choose to plant the tree with or without your loved one’s cremated remains scattered around the base. Stardust Memorials has scattering tubes for ashes which can make this procedure easy. We also carry the Bios Biodegradable Urn which is designed for memorial tree planting and incorporates ashes. Alternatively, you may opt to plant a tree in honor of a loved one without using his or her ashes. You might even consider donating a tree through an existing memorial tree program. Check with your local parks or city offices to see if they have a program for donating trees to beautify your community. Well-respected "donate-a-tree" organizations on the national level are The Arbor Day Foundation and American Forests.
The Bios Memorial Tree Urn is a self-contained, grow your own tree kit incorporated into an urn. You simply put the ashes inside the urn, place the tree seeds into the growth medium, and plant. Over time, the tree grows, forms roots and the biodegradable urn will break down. You may alternatively opt to use the Bios urn with a sapling or started tree.
Sources: https://www.arborday.org/index.cfm Usda http://planthardiness.ars.usda.gov/PHZMWeb/