Mother's Day Gift Idea: Plant a Tree for Mom

Tired of giving the expected bouquet of flowers? A symbolic tree planted for a mother or child will honor Mom through the years.

Another Royal Raindrops crabapple we planted

Another Royal Raindrops crabapple we planted

'Royal Raindrops' crabapple planted in our upper pasture for Mother's Day four years ago. The second of three trees is behind it on the right. 

'Royal Raindrops' crabapple planted in our upper pasture for Mother's Day four years ago. The second of three trees is behind it on the right. 
By: Dee Nash

Instead of a bouquet of cut flowers for your mother this year, why not plant a tree in her honor, or one to represent her children or grandchildren? When our four children were quite small, we decided to plant trees and roses for them on holidays and other times to mark the special days in their lives and ours. Three maples grace the lower pasture on our property and represent three of our four children when they were small. Four roses in my garden were planted for our children’s first communions, and in another part of the garden, three 'Royal Raindrops' crabapples were planted for yet another milestone. 

If you’re thinking it’s too late to plant a tree for your child or grandchild, don’t. Instead, recall the proverb, “The best time to plant a tree was twenty years ago. The second best time is now.” There’s no time like the present to plant a tree, and it will grace the planet with its shade for years to come. 

The tradition of planting trees for major milestones has its basis in Judaism. The Jewish community has long roots planting trees for hope. According to My Jewish Learning, cedars were often planted for boys born the previous year, and cypresses were planted for girls. Often branches from these trees were later cut to make the huppah canopy for a couple’s wedding. 

Need more reasons to plant a tree? Here are four:

  1. Trees take in carbon dioxide emissions and help moderate greenhouse gases. 
  2. In a hot climate, trees shade your property and home, thus reducing air conditioning costs. They also shelter your home from winter winds.
  3. A tree increases your property value. People would rather buy a home with an established tree in the front yard. 
  4. Trees shelter wildlife. What would your home be like without birdsong in spring? 

Not everyone has acreage so choose your tree wisely. Pick one suitable for your climate, and don’t plant beneath power lines or too close to the street. Most front yards can handle one good shade tree, and another for the backyard. If you have a favorite type of tree like a Southern magnolia, choose a smaller one like ‘Little Gem’ or 'Teddy Bear'. 

If you continue to count milestones as we have, you may want to switch from trees to roses, or another shrub like Spiraea thunbergii 'Ogon'. Blooming plants and trees are very special to children. As they grow, let your children know which tree is theirs. They will then feel a special connection to their tree. 

While every mom appreciates flowers, planting a tree for remembrance, or for a special occasion is much longer lasting. Whether you’re planting for a new baby, or for your existing children, having a tree or special shrub for each child is one of nature’s blessings. As your child grows, so grows the tree, and one day, when your children fly from the nest, you’ll still have their trees to watch each spring as the seasons of their lives unfurl. 

Next Up

The Best Gift Ideas for Mom

We rounded up 85 unique and thoughtful Mother's Day gifts based on different personalities and interests.

The River Birch

Learn why the southernmost birch is the one most popular for landscaping.

Know Your Tree Roots

Before selecting new trees for the yard, dig a little deeper to get to the root of the issue.

Grow an Olive Tree

Grow an olive tree indoors and let it take summer vacations outdoors. If your climate is warm, you can even plant it in your garden.

The Paper Birch

This cold-hardy American native is a joy to behold in the landscape.

Japanese Maples: A Guide to Planting and Care

Delicate beauty and vibrant colors make the Japanese maple a coveted choice for landscaping or for containers.

Punny Stamped Terra-Cotta Pots for Mother's Day

Gift your mom an indoor garden complete with puns to show her how much you love her.

Mother's Day Gift Idea: DIY Kid's Art Tea Towels

Turn a treasured piece of art into a keepsake with this easy printer paper transfer project. Keep in mind: Price and stock may change and we may make money off any links.

20 Best Mother's Day Gifts for Grandma

Shop our thoughtful finds to show Grandma just how special she is.

30 Gardening Gifts That Mom Is Sure to Love

From lavish to low-cost, surprise Mom with one of these garden-inspired gift picks.

Go Shopping

Spruce up your outdoor space with products handpicked by HGTV editors.

Follow Us Everywhere

Join the party! Don't miss HGTV in your favorite social media feeds.