How to Plant a Sympathy Tree


Trees are symbolic of life, family, heritage and longevity. When a loved one has suffered a tragic loss trees can be used as a gesture of support as well as a healing tool. As part of the grieving process trees allow people to have a place to gather and remember their loved one. Planting a sympathy tree and perhaps holding a small ceremony is a sensitive and symbolic way to show a loved one that you understand their loss and care about their grieving process.

Step 1

Choose a special site to plant the tree. This could be an open area in the mourner's yard or it could be a public park. If you decide to plant the sympathy tree in a public area, ask city officials if a permit will be necessary.

Step 2

Choose a special tree. Trees can be purchased through a local nursery where employees can help find the right tree for your location.

Step 3

Dig the hole. The hole should be no deeper than the pot or burlap ball that the tree comes in. However, the hole should be at least three times the diameter of the root ball.

Step 4

Gather mourners. If you are holding a special ceremony to dedicate the tree, gather together mourners and allow guests an opportunity to speak.

Step 5

Plant the tree in the pre-dug hole. Some mourners may want to participate in this process. Allow people to have an opportunity to throw in a shovel full of dirt if they choose.

Step 6

Water the tree.

Step 7

Mulch around the base of the tree to ensure the newly transplanted root system does not go into shock.

Step 8

Dedicate the tree by placing mementos around the planting site.

Things You'll Need

  • Tree
  • Shovel
  • Water
  • Mulch
  • Personal mementos
  • Permit (possibly)


  • Tree Planting
  • The Arbor Day Foundation
  • Tree Givers
Keywords: planting a sympathy tree, sympathy gift, giving a sympathy tree, in memory

About this Author

Leah Deitz has been writing alternative health and environmental-related articles for five years. She began her writing career at a small newspaper covering city politics but turned to environmental concerns after beginning her freelance career. When she is not exploring the trails and outdoors of the East Coast, Deitz writes for a number of websites including, and Associated Content.