Question: Can I grow a tree from ashes?
Yes, you can grow a tree from ashes (a.k.a. cremated remains). Here's how.
- Get the cremated remains (ashes) from the crematorium
- Purchase a specially-designed tree urn kit
- Pour the remains into the urn
- Prep the tree seeds (if necessary)
- Dig a hole approximately 7" deep where you want to grow the tree
- Place the urn (with seed and ashes) into the hole
- Cover the urn with soil - the top should be covered by about 1" of dirt
- Water occasionally and add a light layer of mulch
- Watch and wait, and soon you'll be growing a beautiful tree!
More Info About Growing a Tree From Ashes
Let's talk a little about what actually happens when you "grow a tree from ashes."
First of all, the phrase is a bit of a misnomer. The tree doesn't grow from the cremated remains; it grows from a seed, which draws nutrients from the surrounding soil.
When you grow a tree from ashes, you're planting a seed (or a sapling) and mixing the ashes into the soil so that your loved one's remains are used to nourish and grow the tree.
The problem is that the ph level of cremated remains is, well, like ashes. So the tree growing kits and burial pods are all made using a biodegradable container that neutralizes the ph level in the cremated remains. The urn will also typically have some sort of fertilizer or growth medium as well.
So instead of trying to plant a tree over "just" your loved one's ashes (which doesn't usually work, unless you use a really small amount and start with a pretty healthy tree), use a memorial tree urn kit like one of these.
Grow a Tree from Ashes: FAQ
Our biodegradable memorial tree cremation urns are specifically designed to be planted in the ground along with your loved one's remains, from which a beautiful and life-sustaining tree will grow.
Q: What does the tree pod urn kit look like?
A: It's a ceramic cylinder urn with a lid that comes inside of a decorative keepsake tin. It looks like this:
Q: How do the memorial trees work?
A: Our memorial tree urn kits contain a unique mix that aids in the release of beneficial plant nutrients, which are found in cremated ashes.
By themselves, ashes are harmful to plants’ health and well-being.
However, by planting our tree burial pod urn with your loved one’s ashes, you cultivate a mixture that nourishes and sustains your memorial tree.
Q: Does my family have to send you the ashes?
A: No, we send you the urn(s). The funeral home or crematory will separate and “inurn” the ashes for you, or you can add them yourself if you are in possession of the cremains.
Q: What happens if the tree does not grow? Is there any kind of guarantee or replacement policy?
A: Yes, we ensure that there are more than enough growth medium and nutrient compounds as well as seeds to neutralize the ashes’ negative effects while bringing out the positive elements, allowing the tree to be nourished and thrive.
In the unlikely event that the tree does not grow (this is a natural product out in nature, after all - things happen), you may choose to have us send you replacement seeds and growth medium or an actual sapling which you can plant on the initial burial site. This allows the ashes of your loved one to become the heart of a tree.
Q: Are there any reasons that maybe a community could raise an objection that might prevent the family from doing this (where they normally could plant a tree)?
A: In all the U.S., the cremated remains of people and pets are deemed to hold no health hazards to the public. The only point noted is that you should obtain permission to release your cremated remains on private property.
Q: Will the tree pod burial kit hold all of the ashes?
A: Typically no. These tree urn kits hold about 35 cubic inches of cremated remains. The remains from a typical adult's cremation will usually be around 150-200 cubic inches.
Calculate 1 cubic inch per lbs of body weight. See our urn size calculator for more info.
Q: Is there a way to divide the ashes into multiple containers? For instance, so that each child could plant a “mom” tree in their family’s yard?
A: The average person’s cremated remains will fit into 7 tree urns, but can be further divided.
The average pet will fit in one urn, where a large breed dog will need two.
The tree burial kits were designed to allow your loved one or pet to thrive as a living memorial and still give you the option of placing some the cremated remains in a cemetery or other place of disposition.
Q: How do I know which trees will grow suitably in my area?
A: Each product page lists the "planting zones" ideal for the type of tree. Here is a map which will assist you in choosing the ideal tree to plant in memory of your loved one:
How to Plant A Burial Tree Pod Kit
Before you plant
1. Research. We recommend you use the internet to find out the ideals for site, sun exposure, soil type and watering needs for the kind of tree you have chosen. Search “best conditions to grow [insert tree name here]”
2. Prep the urn. Take shrink wrap off and open urn. There are two basic components of your memorial tree urn:
A) the lower vessel for cremated remains.
B) the cap, which contains nutrients and growth medium.
3. Prep the seeds. Preparation for planting is very simple:
1. First, if included, follow the soaking instructions on the seed packet.
2. Second, open the small paper bag made from natural wood pulp and place the bag in the lower vessel.
3. Third, fill the bag with no more than 1-1/4 cup of ashes, leaving enough room to fold it over & get the cap on.
4. Note: If you do not wish to do this, any reputable funeral home or crematory will do it for you.
Planting the urn
1. Place the cap (or lid) onto the lower vessel in preparation for planting. No need to glue.
2. Select your area of planting carefully. Keep in mind the type of tree you have selected and the size it and its roots will reach at maturity.
3. Dig a hole approximately 6-7” deep.
4. Place the urn upright into the hole with the lower vessel portion touching the bottom and the upper capsule nearest the surface.
5. Replace the soil over the memorial tree urn. You should have no more than 1” of soil over the top of the urn.
6. Water and use a light mulch to protect from excessive cold or heat.
7. With the special growth medium, nature will take its course and you will soon have a beautiful memorial tree sprouting up.
Note: The urn will biodegrade, as it is mostly made of clay, but this will take a few years, since it is porous but hard.