While you can simply opt to sponsor a tree in remembrance in a local park or via a charitable organization, planting a tree in remembrance on your own may be a more significant gesture. It also offers the opportunity to create a space for grief and healing in your yard or garden. When selecting your memorial tree, take into consideration the type of tree best suited to the space and what kind of care the tree will require.
Tree Selection and Site Preparation
Select a tree that grows well in your climate. Consider disease resistance and the space available. Keep in mind that the small sapling you are planting now may grow into a 30- to 40-foot tree someday.
Choose a quiet spot for your memorial tree. Consider placing it where the full-grown tree will shade your home, patio or porch.
Choose a spot with well-drained soil and adequate sunlight so your tree will grow well and thrive.
Consider including garden statuary, seating or other elements to the space around the tree---anything of personal significance that can survive in the outdoors. You may want to plant favorite flowers near the tree or use potted plants that were sent to the funeral.
Another option is to use a concrete stepping stone kit from your local craft store to create a memorial stone near the tree. Embed significant items or a write a name and date into the wet concrete. Dig out a shallow area and set the hardened stone into the ground. This can be done before or after you plant the tree.
Planting the Memorial Tree
Dig a hole for the sapling---somewhat broad but not too deep. Remove the tree from its pot, or cut away the burlap covering, making sure to remove any strings or twine. Place the root-ball into the hole you have prepared, carefully standing the tree upright.
You may want to make the event of the tree planting a time to gather with others who share your loss, encouraging those present to offer a thought or memory as each person takes a turn adding soil to the hole.
Backfill the hole no higher than the original soil level of the tree in its original container. Use a mixture of topsoil, peat moss and compost. Tamp down gently, but void compressing the soil around the base of the tree.
Water well, then place a one- to two-inch-thick layer of mulch in an approximately 2-foot radius around the base of the tree.
About this Author
Michelle Powell-Smith has been writing on a variety of subjects from finance to crafts since 2004. Her work appears on sites including eHow and ModernMom.com. She holds a bachelor's degree and a master's degree in art history from the University of Missouri-Columbia, which has provided strong research skills and a varied range of interests.