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?
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.
Types of Cremation Trees
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
- Eastern Red Bud
- Flowering Cherry
- Ginkgo Biloba
- Japanese Maple
- Mexican Fan Palm
- 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
- 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]”
- 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.
- Preparation for planting is very simple.
- First, if included, follow the soaking instructions on the seed packet.
- Second, open the small paper bag made from natural wood pulp and place the bag in the lower vessel.
- 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.
- Note: If you do not wish to do this, any reputable funeral home or crematory will do it for you.
Planting the tree
- Place the cap (or lid) onto the lower vessel in preparation for planting. No need to glue.
- 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.
- Place the urn upright into the hole with the lower vessel portion touching the bottom and the upper capsule nearest the surface.
- 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.
- 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?
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!
Daniel has been working in the funeral industry since 2010, speaking directly to grieving families as they made funeral arrangements.
He began researching and publishing funeral articles on this website as part of his role as product and marketing manager at Urns Northwest.
Having written hundreds of articles and growing the site to multiple millions of views per year, Daniel continues to write while providing editorial oversight for US Urns Online’s content team.