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Planting a Tree For a New Baby

Updated on March 25, 2013

A tree to symbolise new life

What better way to celebrate the arrival of a new baby than by planting a tree in their honour.

Trees have been an important symbol of life and community for centuries, and tree-planting ceremonies were a traditional way to mark births, weddings and other important life events.

There's no reason that this ancient custom can't be used today, with a modern twist.

Last year, we planted a tree for our baby boy, surrounded by close friends and family. It was a memorable moment, and it makes me happy to see that tree every time I pass it.

photo credit: USFS Region 5 via photopin cc

Importance of trees

Trees have always been revered

Throughout cultures and history, trees have been respected and worshipped as sacred and powerful living things. Villages were built around them, they were used medicinally, for shelter and as a meeting place.

  • Wishing trees exist around the world as a place for visitors to hang meaningful objects, wishes or other items
  • The Tree of Life is a universal symbol seen from Ancient Egypt to Europe to the Rastafarian movement and many traditions in between
  • Some countries - such as Lebanon - respect trees so much that they feature one on their national flag
  • Some trees are seen as oracles, such as the oak of Dodona or the Sri Lankan Bo tree
  • The Celts are famous for worshipping trees such as the oak, thorn, apple and hazel tree. They believed these trees were magical and housed fairies.
  • The Christmas Tree is a popular symbol and tradition that evolved from German tree celebrations that are centuries old.

Tree planting poll

What do you think about the idea of tree-planting for a new baby?

See results

Why do we need trees?

Trees are valuable for our health & environment

Planting a tree isn't only a way to celebrate a baby's birth. It's also a home for wildlife, benefits the environment and much more.

Tree of Life items

The Tree of Life symbol is centuries old.

It appears in the Bible as well as sacred texts, art and literature from dozens of cultures. Depending on its origin, the Tree has different meanings but it nearly always represents the interconnectedness of all living things.

I love this symbol and what it stands for, and think it makes a meaningful and attractive decoration.

Our tree-planting ceremony

Organising a tree-planting ceremony for baby

When my son was 3 months old, we organised a tree-planting party for him with some of our closest friends and family. We chose a baobab, a traditional African tree suited to our climate here in the tropics. Baobabs are revered in African villages: they provide a very nutritious seed, leaves and bark that can eaten or used medicinally. It is used for shelter, clothing, decoration and many other things. It's also a very powerful, sacred and beautiful tree that we thought represented our baby. After all, it is known as the "tree of life" in the savannah regions where it is loved.

We first buried the placenta in the hole my husband dug (it had been saved in a plastic bag in the freezer after the birth). Then, our guests were each given a small piece of paper to write a wish or message for our baby's future. Everybody took turns to drop these well wishes in the hole. We then asked several of the children present to help plant and water the tree. It was a beautiful evening. Afterwards, we shared a nice meal together while people enjoyed cuddling our precious boy.

Pictures below are mine and are copyrighted.

Burying messages with the tree

Burying messages with the tree
Burying messages with the tree

Planting the baobab

Planting the baobab
Planting the baobab

How to organise a tree planting

How to Plant a Tree: A Simple Celebration of Trees and Tree-planting Ceremonies
How to Plant a Tree: A Simple Celebration of Trees and Tree-planting Ceremonies

Daniel Butler describes the significance and tradition behind tree-planting ceremonies so beautifully that I almost wish I could re-do ours. This illustrated book goes through the act of tree planting thoroughly: why to do it, what it means, and most importantly how to do it. His practical sections - such as how to build a hedge - are detailed and clear. But my favourite section describes the history of tree-planting ceremonies for birth, marriage and other life events throughout different cultures. A fascinating and inspiring book.

 

Where to plant?

It's a great idea to plant the tree in a place that your child can visit regularly as they grow up. Consider planting in your garden, or in a grandparent's or friend's garden if you think you'll move house (or live in an apartment!)

Tree planting ceremony in South Africa

The Meaning of Trees

The Meaning of Trees: Botany - History - Healing - Love
The Meaning of Trees: Botany - History - Healing - Love

There are no words to describe the beauty in this book. The photographs are of great quality, and the author's passion for the subject jumps out from the pages. It's a pleasure to read cover-to-cover, or simply to flick through the awe-inspiring pictures taken of trees all around the world.

 

Planting your tree

Planting a tree seems simple enough, but it's best to do it properly to encourage the best growth and healthiest tree possible. This short and simple video explains how.

Tree meanings

Which tree to choose?

Planting a tree for your baby sounds like a great idea. But which tree to choose? Of course, you'll need to consider practical things like the climate, and how much space you have. You don't want to have to uproot such an important tree if it gets bigger than you planned!

But most important is the value that the tree represents. Which one of these is for you?

Almond - perfection and purity

Apple - health and fertility

Ash - safety and protection

Beech - understanding and sustenance

Birch - new beginnings and renewal

Cedar - wisdom

Cherry- purity and beauty

Cltrus trees - energy and health

Elm - communication

Eucalyptus - balance

Fig - good fortune and abundance

Holly - truth

Linden tree - peace and healing

Magnolia - dignity

Maple - expansion

Oak - power and courage

Olive - peace and tolerance

Palm tree - trust and acceptance

Pear - comfort and abundance

Pine - vitality and life force

Poplar - protection

Walnut - confidence and intelligence

Willow - harmony and serenity

The choices are endless! For more tree meanings, I like this tree meanings website.

Tree Folklore and Symbolism

Folklore and Symbolism of Flowers, Plants and Trees (Dover Pictorial Archive)
Folklore and Symbolism of Flowers, Plants and Trees (Dover Pictorial Archive)

If you're about to choose a tree or plant in honour of a child, you'll probably want to know what it represents. This book includes the meanings, history and significance of hundreds of trees, plants and flowers. Whether you want to find a tree that represents hope, strength, joy or any other value this book will help you out.Even if you're not choosing a tree, it's fascinating text. You'll be interested to read about plant history going back to the 13th century, old superstitions and traditions as well as medicinal and magical uses. Accompanied by detailed drawings, it's a must for those who love plants and history.

 

Pick a side

Which value is more important in a tree for you?

Top Ten Amazing Trees

I love this little video for inspiration. What amazing things trees are!

What's your favourite tree? - And would you plant one for a baby?

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    Post Comment

    • Jacolive profile image

      Jacolive 

      4 years ago

      What a great idea!

    • gracyelala profile image

      gracyelala 

      5 years ago

      I love the idea of putting notes and wishes for the child into the hole when you are planting! beautiful!

    • LisaDH profile image

      LisaDH 

      5 years ago

      My favorite tree is the oak tree in our front yard. We love it so much that it's one of the reasons we bought our house! I've never planted a tree for a baby, but I think it's a great idea. When I was little, my mom planted a fir tree in the yard of the house where I grew up. Now it towers over the entire yard. It brings back good memories for me.

    • sockii profile image

      Nicole Pellegrini 

      5 years ago from New Jersey

      What a beautiful lens about a fabulous idea! I love watching trees grow through the years, and to be able to tie it symbolically to the birth of a child is wonderful.

    • artbyrodriguez profile image

      Beverly Rodriguez 

      5 years ago from Albany New York

      I love all trees! Lovely lens.

    • oztoo lm profile image

      oztoo lm 

      5 years ago

      Totally love this idea. I love trees so I can't really pick a favorite.

    • flycatcherrr profile image

      flycatcherrr 

      5 years ago

      Mountain ash is one of my favourite trees, though such a small one, for its bird-feeding berries and pretty fall colour. In shade trees I do like a good ol' maple. Tree planting for occasions is a wonderful thing - not just for new babies but marriages and other new beginnings, too.

    • ItayaLightbourne profile image

      Itaya Lightbourne 

      5 years ago from Topeka, KS

      What a beautiful idea to plant a tree for a baby! I might do this for our grandson. Wonderful article. Angel Blessings! :)

    • Ahdilarum profile image

      Ahdilarum 

      5 years ago

      i have already planted two plants for my sons

    • ae dc profile image

      ae dc 

      5 years ago

      I'd plant any tree for my future baby/babies. Great lens! *Squidliked and Blessed*

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