Planting a memorial tree can be an environmentally friendly way of keeping the memory of your lost loved-one alive, and there are many different ways you can set about doing this.
Trees have an ancient history as memorials and tributes to those we have lost; they are seem as lasting symbols of life and renewal, a tree provides both a fitting tribute to the person we have lost and a beautiful place for family and friends to visit, remember and to feel close to the person who has passed away. Trees can be personalised with a plaque or even a bench beneath its branches, and can provide the site for ashes to be buried during planting or to be scattered afterwards.
Choosing a memorial tree
If you would like to plant a memorial tree for a loved-one, you can plant a memorial tree yourself if you own a suitable site. Popular choices for memorial trees include:
- Oak – symbolising knowledge, wisdom and strength
- Dogwood – symbolising kindness, stability and determination
- Silver Birch – a symbol of hope, renewal and regeneration
- Rowan – symbolising protection and inspiration
- Hazel – a symbol of learning and wisdom
- Wild Cherry – a symbol of appreciation of the time spent with our loved-ones.
As well as its meaning, it is important to research the practical aspects of the tree and the suitability of the site you wish to plant it in. Take into the account the aspect, the amount of sun, wind and shelter it will have, whether the tree’s likely eventual height and spread can fit into the space appropriately and whether you can access the site easily to visit in the future. If the land is in private ownership, make sure to get permission first and consider the fact that if the land is sold on, your ability to visit in the future may not be guaranteed.
Sites that may have a more secure future are those owned by conservation and environmental organisations. As well as woodland burial grounds, which are becoming increasingly popular, organisations such as The Woodland Trust will plant a tree for someone who has died in return for a donation which they use to help conserve, maintain and expand their woodland sites.
Many sites will allow you a choice of trees suitable for the location you prefer, and will allow you to personalise the tree with a plaque and ensure that you can visit whenever you choose. (Check with any organisation for their specific guidelines on plaques and the scattering of ashes.) You may even be able to dedicate a whole area of woodland to your loved-one and site a bench near to your special tree in their name.
For some families, providing a living memorial to their loved-one creates a space filled with love, renewal and hope; a space that can accommodate family gatherings, where afternoons can be spent together in close proximity with memories of the past, creating memories for the future.