Honor a Loved One with a tree at the State Arboretum of Virginia

The Arboretum provides for living memorials through the dedication of specimen trees. While the tree, its source and siting are determined by the Curator, after consultation with the donor, there is a range of both tree species and sites from which the selection can be made. Our goal is to select a tree that will thrive under local conditions, fit well with the themes of The Arboretum, and elicit the memory of the honoree through the type of tree, its location, or both.

Longevity: Memorial/Honorary trees are considered a living memorial with a finite longevity. We will maintain the tree through its healthy, natural lifespan and replace it with the same or similar kind if it dies within 25 years of planting. The staff and Curator are responsible for all care the tree receives. 

Planting Ceremony: Friends and family are invited to attend a planting ceremony and help position the tree in the ground, cover its roots with soil and mulch, and water it in. Trees should be planted in fall or spring to give them the best chance to get established.

Donation Amount: Memorial/Honorary trees are available for a donation of $1800 each.
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Friends and family link hands to connect the memorial tree of Julia Simpson planted two years earlier with the newly planted tree for Jerry Mulqueen. Photo courtesy of Mark Hood

photo of memorial sign example
Example / template for a sign for an honorary tree


The donation is used to purchase the tree, plant it, fabricate and attach the label, with the remaining monies going to support the plant collections at The Arboretum in a fund managed by the Foundation of the State Arboretum. The Foundation is a 501(c)(3) organization with accounts reviewed on a yearly basis.

Tree Labels: Memorial/Honorary Trees are labeled with the same permanent 3 x 5 inch display labels used throughout the Arboretum–i.e., photo-metal, aluminum labels mounted directly on or staked next to the specimen. Each label displays the following: First line: common name in 24 pt Bold Times Roman Font Second line: Latin name in 18 pt italics Third line: common family name and Latin family name in 18 pt Times Roman Font Fourth line: Geographical location in 18 pt Times Roman Font Fifth line: “Given in memory of (or in honor of) Jane Doe”–14 pt Times Roman Font or if the name is lengthy a reduced font size may be used to allow the text to fit Sixth line- “By the Doe Family” or other group making the donation. Additional notes: 1) a blank line is inserted between the plant information and the memorial/honorary information; 2) all text will be centered on plate; 3) for those trees that are native to Virginia, a state map will be added to the right of the common name on the first line Tree labels will be maintained and replaced throughout the lifetime of the tree (see above).  

Contact Information To inquire about Memorial/Honorary Trees please contact: T'ai H. Roulston, Curator Blandy Experimental Farm 400 Blandy Farm Lane Boyce, Virginia 22620 Phone: (540) 837-1758 Ext. 276 E-mail: thr8z@virginia.edu Checks should be made out to the “Foundation of the State Arboretum of Virginia.”