Family spreading ashes around a memorial tree

Grow a Living Memorial: Turn Ashes into a Tree

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Turning ashes into a tree is a relatively new concept that involves planting a tree using the cremated remains of a loved one. The idea behind this practice is to create a living memorial that serves as a beautiful and meaningful tribute to the person who has passed away.

In order to turn ashes into a tree, the ashes are mixed with soil and good bacteria and spread under a tree. You can choose to plant a new tree or spread ashes beneath a fully grown tree. Elements from the ashes will be absorbed as nutrients and become part of the tree.

Environmental and emotional benefits of spreading ashes beneath a tree

From an environmental perspective, spreading the cremated ashes under a tree can help to reduce carbon emissions and provide a habitat for wildlife. Trees absorb carbon dioxide and release oxygen during photosynthesis, helping to mitigate the effects of climate change. Additionally, trees provide a home for a variety of wildlife, including birds, insects, and small mammals.

From an emotional perspective, spreading the cremated ashes under a tree can provide comfort and healing for the bereaved. The tree serves as a physical reminder of the person who has passed away and can provide a peaceful and calming space for family and friends to visit and reflect on their memories. Spreading the cremated ashes under a tree can also help to create a sense of closure and provide a way to channel grief into a positive, life-affirming activity.

Trees are known for having a deep symbolism and meaning across cultures. For example, oak trees are associated with strength and resilience, while maple trees are associated with balance and harmony. You can read more about the Symbolism of Trees here.

In addition to the environmental and emotional benefits, spreading the cremated ashes under a tree can also provide a sense of legacy and continuity. As the tree grows and thrives, it serves as a living testament to the person’s life and can be passed down through generations as a family heirloom.

Overall, spreading ashes beneath a tree can provide comfort and healing for those who are grieving. It is a beautiful and meaningful way to honor the memory of a loved one while also contributing to the health and beauty of the planet.


The process of turning ashes into a tree

Ashes collected from a funeral home are often inside of a plastic bag, and that plastic bag is inside of an urn. Ashes typically weigh four to eight pounds, and are very alkaline. Spreading ashes around a fragile plant (such as a young plant or sapling) can hurt the plant, because the pH of the soil changes too drastically. To ensure you don’t harm a plant with concentrated ashes, you want to create a mixture before spreading ashes around a tree.

Ashes are often mixed with soil and organic matter with a low pH level, and potentially microbial bacteria. This helps lower the high pH level, so the ash mixture does not harm a tree. A larger tree with a big root system will be less affected than a young sapling.

Trees root systems take in elements from the soil around them. Ashes are mainly comprised of carbon, calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, and potassium. Trees look for oxygen, water, nitrogen, calcium, phosphorus, and potassium. It’s difficult to prove, but it is very likely a tree with ashes spread around it will absorb bits of nutrients from the ashes if the mixture is bioavailable to the tree.


The benefits of having a living memorial

Losing a loved one can be a heartbreaking experience. Physical memorials can be incredibly meaningful during the grieving process, and a living memorial is an especially powerful way to honor the cherished memory of a loved one. Turning ashes into a tree is one example of a living memorial that can encapsulate a message of love and healing in its symbol of life and growth. Not only does this help bring closure to those mourning, but it also provides continuing value to the environment for years to come. In many ways, having a living memorial can be the perfect solace in times of grief, giving back both to those we’ve lost and our broad community at large.

Living memorials are a beautiful way to remember a deceased loved one while also giving back to the earth. Not only are living memorials eco-friendly, but they also provide comfort and peace of mind knowing that your loved one is connected to something living. While the process of creating a living memorial may seem daunting, it is actually quite simple and straightforward. Whether you decide to purchase a living tree in a Memorial Forest  or a Tree Urn,  this tree is now representative of your loved one. If you have any questions about living memorials or how to create one, please feel free to reach out. We would be more than happy to assist you further. 


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