Plant Memorial Tree Urns

How to Become a Cremation Tree When You Die

In this article, we’re going to show you how to become a cremation tree when you die.

Can I Become a Tree When I Die?

Yes!

Well, in a sense. Your cremated remains can be used to help nourish and sustain a tree, which will help your ashes “become” a part of the tree.

The concept is simple: Plant your (or your loved one’s) cremated ashes using a cremation tree kit, and grow a tree from their ashes as a memorial tribute.

It’s an easy, eco-friendly, and beautiful way to plant a tree from a loved one’s remains. Celebrate their life and care for the environment by turning their ashes into a thriving, healthy, legacy-honoring tree.

Let’s learn how.

What is a Cremation Tree Urn?

A cremation tree urn is a biodegradable urn for ashes made with fertilizer and a living tree seed.

These kits include a biodegradable urn, a tree seed, and ph-neutralizing agents along with healthy fertilizers that work together with the cremated remains to nourish and grow the memorial tree.

Take the urn (with the seed and your loved one’s ashes), plant it in the ground, and the seed will begin to grow. As it does, the design of the urn will incorporate the cremated remains into the nourishment of the tree.

In a very real way, your loved one’s remains will become a part of the plant, which will grow to become a true “living memorial.”

If you’re looking for a way to plant a memorial tree that doesn’t include the ashes, see our guide here.

How It Works

Our growing selection includes 15 tree choices to grow from a seed into a healthy, vibrant tree. Each of these cremation tree kits contains a ceramic urn made using a mixture 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 one of our Cremation Tree Urns with your loved one’s cremated ashes, you cultivate an environment that nourishes and sustains your tree as it grows.

The urn will arrive inside a lovely keepsake tin, decorated with images from the tree which will soon be growing out in nature. Inside is the actual urn, which contains all the elements necessary to grow your memorial tree. Of course we also include a set of helpful instructions so you’ll know exactly what to do.

This is one of the simplest cremation tree kits on the market to use. To fill, just remove the lid, insert the remains, replace the lid, and you’re ready to go.

The urn planter portion holds a maximum of 35 cubic inches of ashes. This is usually only a small portion of the total remains. For comparison, the industry standard size urn for an adult is 200 cubic inches. Use this urn size calculator to estimate the amount of ashes there will be.

If you want to use all of the ashes, the average person’s cremated remains will fit into about 5-7 of these kits. However, most people just use one urn, then scatter the rest nearby or divide among family. The average pet will fit in one urn, while a large breed dog will need two.

These tree kits were designed to allow your loved one or pet to thrive as a living memorial while still giving you the option to place some the remains in a cemetery or other place of disposition.

Types of Cremation Trees

Grow a tree from cremated remains
The Dogwood Tree is one of our most popular options.

In addition to the Dogwood shown above and our popular “Personal Choice,” which allows you to provide any seed of your own choice, we have many other tree types.

These include Blue Spruce, Flowering Cherry, Ponderosa Pine, Oak, Coral, Ginkgo Biloba, Japanese White Birch, and more.

Our cremation tree urns are 100% biodegradable and eco-friendly. This provides you with a natural and sustainable way to create a living memorial to your loved one. See each product page for specifics about planting regions.

Available at Urns Northwest, here are the 16 choices we offer:

  • Blue Spruce
  • Deodara Cedar
  • Dogwood
  • Eastern Red Bud
  • Flowering Cherry
  • Ginkgo Biloba
  • Jacaranda
  • Japanese Maple
  • Mexican Fan Palm
  • Oak
  • Palo Verde
  • Ponderosa Pine Tree
  • Quaking Aspen
  • Sugar Maple
  • Tulip Poplar
  • Personal Choice (Choose your own seeds)

See more details and order here.

How to Plant A Cremation Tree

Below we explain exactly how to plant your cremation tree urn. You can download a printable version of the instructions here: How to Plant a Memorial Tree Cremation Urn. Each tree kit will also come with complete instructions for that specific tree type.

Before you plant

  1. We recommend you use the internet to find out the ideals for site, sun exposure, soil type and watering needs for the kind of memorial tree you have chosen. Search “best conditions to grow [insert tree name here]”
  2. Take shrink wrap off and open the urn. There are two basic components of your memorial tree cremation urn: A) The lower vessel for cremated remains. B) The cap, which contains nutrients and growth medium.
  3. 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 tree

  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. Dig a hole approximately 6-7” deep.
  3. Place the urn upright into the hole with the lower vessel portion touching the bottom and the upper capsule nearest the surface.
  4. Replace the soil over the memorial tree urn. You should have no more than 1” of soil over the top of the urn. Water and use a light mulch to protect from excessive cold or heat.
  5. With the special growth medium, nature will take its course and you will soon have a beautiful memorial tree sprouting up.

How long after a loved one’s passing can their ashes be used to grow a tree?

You can use the remains anytime to grow the tree. “Ashes” never expire. Having been through the cremation process, their composition is stable.

So you can plant the tree a few days after the cremation, or twenty years later. It will work either way.

Once the ashes are placed into the urn, how soon does it need to be planted?

The urns don’t expire, but if you order one that comes with a seed then the seeds generally last for a season or so.

So essentially the only thing that would “expire” in the whole process is the tree seed. And you can always purchase your own replacement seeds, so that doesn’t need to hold you back.

You can purchase many tree seeds locally or online for just a few dollars. Additionally, locally-sourced seeds have the advantage of being already suited to your environment.

So you can get the Personal Choice, put the ashes into the urn, and then wait as long as you like. When you’re ready to plant, purchase some local tree seeds or even a sapling and then plant it.

How much does it cost to turn ashes into a tree?

About $120 for the tree urn kit, plus any extras you might get for yourself from your local garden store (nice soil, a planting pot, and so on).

Where to Plant Your Cremation Tree

First, let’s talk about where to plant the specific type of tree. This will depend on that tree seed’s ideal planting zone. You’ll have to do a little old-fashioned gardening research here, but trust us, it’s easy.

You can look through the tree types we have available by your state. In that post, we go through each state’s planting zones and what tree seeds you can plant there.

Second, the specific location. Where you plant the tree is completely up to you (within the law, of course). You can arrange an area in private property, or perhaps get clearance from a state park or national forest or other public lands. Depends on if you want it out in the wild, or at a relative’s home, or any other specific or special area.

Ideally, you’ll want a location with lots of sun and water, away from high traffic or potential developments. This should be a location easy to access so that you can visit anytime. Most families plant the tree in their backyard.

Some types of tree and other plants (use the Personal Choice urn) are amenable to planting in a planter. That usually takes special care, but we’ve found most people don’t mind – your loved one is worth it!

Read next: 25 Weird Questions About Cremation That People Always Ask

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40 thoughts on “How to Become a Cremation Tree When You Die”

  1. I am curious to know…will cemetaries generally allow you to purchase a plot or plots and allow you to plant this memorial tree, or do you need to buy your own land for such a purchase if you do not wish you use your yard. (I probably will not live here all of my days) Thank you

  2. You may plant these memorial trees anywhere trees are allowed to be planted; however, we recommend contacting local authorities for approval before planting on public lands, and of course you would want to make arrangements with any private property owners.

  3. I would imagine cemeteries would prohibit it due to the likelihood over time of roots from “your” tree and others possibly disturbing the caskets and mauseleums. They would also probably end up tending the tree – routine prunings, clearing leaves and branches, especially if they shad the grave of someone else who may not want it. Couldn’t hurt to ask, though.

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  6. How many seeds per vessel? How viable is the sprout. I see there are weeping willow seeds, however, once those seeds dry out, they die and will likely not germinate. Are there directions to growing the seedling? The blossoming cherry seeds can’t germinate right away, there’s a cold period they have to go through and can take a year!

  7. Hi Lee,

    Good questions! The designer of these products has a patent on these, so we’re not really at liberty to say how many seeds per vessel. But each one is viable and guaranteed to sprout – we’ll even send you another one if it doesn’t begin growing.
    The weeping willow seeds have been a difficult one to maintain viability; we’re actually discontinuing that model for the exact reason you mentioned. And yes, you’re also correct about the cherry seeds – they need to germinate through the cold season.
    Each memorial tree urn is planted and grows in the exact same way you would regularly plant a tree, and we do provide instructions with each one. You can also easily find tons of info online by searching for things like “When is the best time to plant a cherry tree” etc. I hope this helps!

  8. I was looking for something to remember my son ,and I was told about your company ,, I’ve just reaised that your an American based company ,,,and as I’m in England, I wondered if you had any English sister based sites I could look at…… It seems such a wonderful idea , to have a living memorial for a loved and lost child ,,,,I dont want to give up on the idea ,without finding out if there are possibilties that you have something similar in the united kingdom

  9. I was wonderding if you have anything available besides trees. I am interested in using my ashes to plant lilac bushes.

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  15. This may be a silly question, but can use a memorial tree urn years after one’s death? My mother died 18 years ago. Her ashes are currently in a traditional urn, but I really love this idea!

  16. Hello Cecily, that is not an issue, it won’t matter the time past. Let us know if you have any other questions.

  17. I really like the idea of a living memorial. Is there any way that the plant/tree could be small enough to thrive in a large pot – to be transportable? That way, if I move I can bring it with me?

  18. You can plan one in a pot, but it may not always be the optimal condition for growth. Keep in mind some trees may stay smaller if their roots can’t grow, which may work to your benefit, but you will want to research the tree you are interested in having. There will be a time when it will be best to plant it in the ground.

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  20. Can I buy the urns without the seeds as we want to grow trees which are indigenous to our areas in different parts of Australia.

  21. I am interested in planting a tree in memory of my father. I want to find out if you have any information on who to contact or where should I call to get information on where to plant the tree close to where I leave. I leave in Henderson, NV or Las Vegas NV. Or is there a list of places you guys might be able to provide me with?
    Your help is greatly appreciated.

  22. Hi Dalia,

    You’ll have to choose a few possibilites for locations, then find out who manages that particular park or land. County, city, etc. You can usually look these things up on the county or city websites, or by giving them a call. I hope this helps!

    Thanks,
    Daniel

  23. I have a small back yard and want to plant a tree with your urn can you recommend what type of tree is best and do you offer seeds other than what you have listed.

  24. Hi Janelle,

    You’ll have to find the best memorial tree for your area, which you can look up here. We also offer the Personal Choice Memorial Tree Urn, which allows you to get the seeds of your choice (you’ll have to get them locally or online) and insert them into the urn prior to planting.

    Hope this helps!
    Daniel

  25. Hi Becky,

    We had a tough time keeping the Willow seeds viable, as they are a little tempermental. 🙂

    You can always get the Personal Choice Memorial Tree Urn, which has a space for you to put your own seeds in, and plant it with willow seeds. Talk to local experts to figure out how best to plant a willow tree from seeds for advice on how to do this.

    All the best,
    Daniel

  26. Hi, I saw an advertisement online about these containers that can be used to grow trees from your ashes. I would like to become a redwood tree, can you do this for me?

  27. I am very interested in this idea for my husband’s ashes, as he loved trees and learning about them. Is there a cemetery in Minnesota that allows this?

  28. Hi Meg,

    We are not aware of any database or listing of cemeteries that permit tree planting; you will need to contact each cemetery individually. Thank you!

    Daniel

  29. Hi. I’m interested in this for my son, who was born still born at 29 weeks.
    This option will help his brothers and rest of the family to visit and take care of the tree. I would presume as he was a baby that all his ashes would fit into 1?.
    How do I go about purchasing this product please.

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