How to Plant a Tree in Memory of a Death of Someone


Death strikes deeply at the human condition, and men and women cope with their grief in myriad ways. Some choose to memorialize the deceased in some form. In recent years, the practice of planting a memorial tree has grown stronger in some communities. This is a simple and long-lasting tribute to honor the memory of a departed friend or relative.

Step 1

Select a suitable area for the memorial tree. The site should provide adequate light and water for the tree to flourish, and choose either a secluded or high-traffic location, depending on how public the memorial is intended to be. Request permission of the property owner if the property is not yours.

Step 2

Select the species of tree that is most appropriate for the person who died or which has symbolic value. For example, a pine tree could reflect that the person's memory will be "evergreen," or an oak tree might symbolize her inner strength.

Step 3

Dig a hole as deep as the root ball and twice as wide. Put a small amount of fertilizer into the hole, according to the product label. Place the sapling in the hole and fill in with dirt.

Step 4

Pour a half gallon of water over the base of the sapling.

Step 5

Install a plaque. Typically, these are made of bronze and are affixed to poles next to the tree or to heavy rock faces placed nearby. The plaque's words should reflect the person being honored, including his name, dates of birth and death, and a statement honoring his memory. There is no template or right way to prepare a memorial inscription.

Step 6

Consider holding a small ceremony after the planting to remember the deceased. This event could include a small meal, reminiscing or prayer.

Step 7

Ensure that the sapling is watered and that, over the years, the plaque and the tree are maintained.

Tips and Warnings

  • Do not plant a tree that may be "perfect" regarding the deceased, but which is not a good match for the local environment. A cactus will not flourish in a Minnesota winter nor a deciduous tree in the desert.

Things You'll Need

  • Shovel
  • Sapling
  • Fertilizer
  • Water
  • Engraved plaque


  • How to Plant a Tree
  • How to Plant a Tree
Keywords: memorial tree, plant tree after death, memorial plaque

About this Author

Jason Gillikin is a business-communication consultant from Grand Rapids, Mich. He is a Certified Professional in Healthcare Quality and has a degree in political science and professional ethics from Western Michigan University. He has worked as a hospital statistician, biomedical ethicist, and newspaper editor, and has been published in the Encyclopedia of Survey Research Methods, the Western Herald, and

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