How to Plant a Tree in Honor of Someone


When you plant a tree in honor of someone, it contributes more than a granite stone or statue to the environment. A tree is a living memorial whose roots hold soil, stop erosion, produce oxygen and beautify its surroundings. In its shade can be found not only the honor of the recipient but also the affection of those who have provided for its planting. There are many ways to buy and plant a tree in celebration of a life. Choose the way that suits you---and the person you wish to honor---best.

Step 1

Check with your local funeral director to see if any local opportunities are available. Funeral homes often have programs with local park districts, arboretums and other recreational areas to plant memorial trees to improve property or collections.

Step 2

Find a local service group that can help you with your tree. Groups like Kiwanis and Rotary may have a local park for which they've accepted stewardship. Scout groups may plant trees on public or private property if you provide the tree. Scouts or service groups also sometimes work with municipal or county foresters to provide trees for memorials.

Step 3

Plant a tree through your church or synagogue. One of the best-known of these campaigns is the reforestation accomplished by the planting of trees financed by overseas donors after the founding of the state of Israel in 1948.

Step 4

Contact a consulate or embassy to get a recommendation on an organization that could help you plant a tree to commemorate heritage. There are international organizations that will plant a tree in another country, but a consul or public relations person at an embassy can often tell you which ones are trustworthy.

Step 5

Contribute to the Arbor Day Foundation or a school or university memorial tree fund to plant memorial trees. The Arbor Day Foundation will plant trees in honor of a person or even a pet in a U.S. National Forest and educational arboretums are usually happy to help with memorial selections.

Step 6

Buy a tree and plant it yourself. Create your own ceremony with friends of the honoree and arrange to plant the tree in a park or on church or school property in honor or celebration. Get ideas from your local state university extension or municipal forester for varieties of trees that are native; they may have tree purchase programs.

Tips and Warnings

  • There are dozens of organizations offering to plant memorial trees. Find out whether they are nonprofit organizations, how much of the money will be actually spent on the tree and whether any complaints have been filed before writing a check. Get an actual brick-and-mortar address for Internet offerings.

Things You'll Need

  • Tree
  • Planting location
  • Description of honor or memorial statement


  • James Bublitz, Funeral Director and Pre-Needs Specialist, Murray Funeral Homes; Beaver Dam, Wisconsin
  • Trees for the Holy Land: Trees for Israel
  • Brockman Memorial Tree Tour: Living Memorials

Who Can Help

  • Arbor Day Foundation: Trees in Celebration and Memory
Keywords: plant tree, memorial, honor someone

About this Author

Chicago native Laura Reynolds has been writing for 40 years. She attended American University (D.C.), Northern Illinois University and University of Illinois Chicago and has a B.S. in communications (theater). Originally a secondary school communications and history teacher, she's written one book and edited several others. She has 30 years of experience as a local official, including service as a municipal judge.