How Do I Hold a Tree Burial Planting Ceremony?

With traditional burials becoming less common and with cremation on the rise, many families are looking for uplifting alternatives and special ceremonies where they can honor their loved ones in truly unique ways. One option for families that's growing in popularity across the U.S. is a tree planting ceremony with The Living Urn tree burial urn. Planting trees in memory of loved ones who’ve passed has been around for ages across many cultures, however, now with The Living Urn, families can take it a step further and incorporate their loved one’s ashes in the planting process. 

What is a Tree Burial Planting Ceremony?

A tree planting ceremony is a time where family and friends can come together and reflect on the loved one who passed and plant new life, a living tree memorial, that will grow and endure in their honor. This ceremony typically involves a loved one’s cremated remains, The Living Urn bio urn and planting system, and a young tree of choice. The Living Urn is a biodegradable urn and tree pod system that allows families to grow a beautiful memory tree with the ashes of a loved one. Many people want to give back to ones they leave behind - this special tree gives back to nature and sustains life for future generations. Different trees can have different meanings, symbolizing the character of the loved one lost. This memory tree can provide a special place for family and friends to visit for years to come and keep a loved one memory present.

How Does it Work?

You will first need to order a Living Urn bio urn and planting system and choose a tree well suited for the planting site and geographic region. The Living Urn offers more than 20 beautiful tree and shrub options for most parts of the U.S. Families can also get a tree, plant, or flowers from a local nursery to plant in combination with The Living Urn. Each Living Urn comes with detailed and easy to follow instructions to make it easy for families to plant once the cremated remains are received from the funeral home or cremation service provider.

The Planting Ceremony

There are many ways to go about holding a planting ceremony. Choose a date after the time that you know you will have your loved one’s ashes back from the funeral home or cremation service provider and when most family and friends can attend. Other factors to take into consideration include the weather and location – be sure to check the shade/sun requirements of your particular tree. Many families plant on their property or have a special and meaningful planting location in mind. Others have planted in parks, cemeteries, church properties, golf courses, and many more unique locations. Different cities have different rules and regulations that you can look into. The Living Urn has also started Memory Forest for families that need a place to plant.

Once the date and site of the planting has been determined, other things to consider are whether or not the family would like to have a religious person present and if family members or friends would like to say some words to honor the loved one who passed. Many ceremonies are more informal and become an, uplifting, happy event to remember, reflect, and honor a special life lived, sometimes referred to as a celebration of life instead of a funeral.

After reflecting on your loved one, many ceremonies then move on to the planting. The first step is preparing the planting site (removing weeds/grass and digging the hole) – for this it is good to have some rakes and a shovel or two. Some families prefer to have the planting site prepared before the ceremony, while others incorporate this into the ceremony and let everybody who wishes participate in the process.  

Many families will prepare the special Living Urn bio urn prior to the ceremony by transferring the cremated remains into the planting urn. The Living Urn is designed to be used with as much or as little of one set of ashes as desired.  Families can transfer the ashes into the bio urn themselves or the funeral home or cremation service provider can help with this if preferred. 

The planting itself is easy and The Living Urn provides clear and simple instructions. In general, the bio urn is removed from the bamboo cylinder and the bag of the RootProtect® is emptied on top of the cremated remains in the bio urn. The bio urn is then placed in the center of the hole, the tree is lowered down into the urn and soil is filled in to all the remaining space. Cover the top with mulch and give it a good initial water. Many families elect to have children and other family and friends be involved with each step of the planting process. Even by adding a scoop of the top soil around the tree, a person will feel more involved and connected to the living memorial honoring the person who passed.

After the tree is planted, many families choose to continue the ceremony or celebration. You can have people come forward and speak, have a moment of silence to reflect, have a dinner and drinks by the tree, etc.  You know your loved one best and can make the ceremony however you believe your loved one would have wanted it.