There is an old proverb, aren’t they all old, which says: The best time to plant a tree was twenty years ago. The second best time is now. The wisdom is almost entirely true, but not totally true as I will explain in a bit. It is almost always a good time to plant a tree as they provide so many benefits.

Benefit of Trees

Tree branches form the shape of a heart with sunset in background.

Without getting into all the details, here are 10 reasons we need to plant and care for trees as is explained in more detail on our importance of trees page.

  1. Trees absorb CO2 gases helping offset the effects of climate change.
  2. Trees provide oxygen and clean the air at the same time.
  3. Tree coverage helps cool by day and retain heat at night thus conserving energy.
  4. Trees act as natural water filters, reduce soil erosion, and help prevent flooding.
  5. Trees help increase property values and beautify communities.
  6. Trees provide a habitat for the world’s plants and animals to, if not thrive, at least survive.
  7. Trees can provide food for both humans and animals.
  8. Trees provide many health benefits including shielding us from harmful ultra-violet rays.
  9. Trees create economic opportunities, especially in impoverished areas around the world.
  10. Trees provide shade so we can enjoy a picnic.

Best Time To Plant a TreeFather wearing gray shirt and shorts and son in checkered shirt and pants planting tree under sun.

The old proverb quoted above shows that man understood the benefits of lush arbor coverage centuries ago, however, one doesn’t just want to plant a tree at any time of year, but at the right time. The best time to plant a tree is typically during the dormant season, which is in the late fall or early spring, depending on your climate and the type of tree you’re planting. Here are some guidelines to consider:

  • Late Fall (Autumn): Planting in late fall, after the tree has dropped its leaves, can be an excellent time because the tree can focus on establishing and growing its root system during the cooler months without the stress of hot weather. Also, in the Fall, the soil stays warm well after the air temperature cools, which also encourages root growth. This allows it to be better prepared for the growing season in the spring.
  • Early Spring: Early spring is another suitable time for tree planting, just before new growth begins. The soil is still relatively cool, which encourages root development. It’s important to plant early enough in the spring so that the tree has time to establish roots before the heat of summer.
  • Avoid Extreme Weather: Avoid planting during the hot summer months or during freezing winter conditions. Extreme temperatures can stress the tree and make it harder for it to establish itself. Trees planted in the Fall are better equipped to deal with heat and drought in future seasons.
  • Consider Local Climate: The best time can vary based on your local climate and the specific type of tree you’re planting. Some trees may have specific planting times that are ideal for their growth.
  • Container vs. Bare-Root: If you’re planting a container-grown tree, you have more flexibility in terms of when you can plant, but still, aim for the dormant season or early spring. Bare-root trees are typically planted during the dormant season.
  • Fewer Insects: The cooler temps of Fall and early Winter keep down the activity of insects which can be harmful to newly planted trees (as well as more established, mature trees).
  • Rainfall: If possible, try to time your planting with periods of regular rainfall, which can help the tree establish itself more easily. Increased rainfall and cooler temperatures also means less watering time for you!

As you can see, proper tree planting involves more than just timing. Make sure to prepare the soil properly, dig an appropriate planting hole, and provide the tree with adequate water and care after planting to ensure its success and healthy growth. Additionally, consider the specific requirements of the tree species you’re planting, as some may have unique preferences and needs.

Here at The Gifted Tree, all of our memorial and celebration gift trees are planted in the location’s late spring or fall. This is being done to ensure the long-term survival of the trees as well as to accomplish the goals of the project. We have worked with our tree planting partners for years as they oversee the planting of our memorial and celebration trees as well as monitor their well-being afterwards to help ensure long-term survival allowing these trees to create a legacy lasting for generations.

The Gifted Tree has planting projects in over 80 locations in United States National Forests and in countries around the world. Each planting project has specific goals and plants different species of trees. Join us in exploring these planting locations as we update our locations pages to make it easier to view the projects available and to learn about the goals of the project, the species of trees planted, and, if available, a link to virtually view the general planting area via Bing earth maps.

Trees and a rushing Mountain Stream


Pet Loss Tree - Grieving The Loss Of a Pet



If you are like me, dealing with the loss of a pet is one of the most difficult things we will ever handle. Pets are a family member and bring so much comfort and unconditional love, it is totally understandable that losing them can be emotionally devastating. Our pets play such an important role in our daily lives, as 70% or more of US households have a pet, it is very painful when we lose our pets. And to compound things, if you are a dog owner, again like me, losing “man’s best friend’” will happen a number of times over your lifetime as one is more likely to get a new dog when the old one crosses the rainbow bridge. Thus, pet loss grief is a reoccurring theme.

Because our pets are such valued members of the family and have gotten us through some difficult times, it is not unusual to be hit hard by this loss. Our furry friends hold a special place in our hearts, and their passing leaves an indelible void. Grief is a natural response to this loss, and it’s essential to navigate through the emotions in a healthy and supportive manner. In this blog post, we will explore three strategies and coping mechanisms to help you and your family deal with the death of a family pet.

1.      Acknowledge and Validate Your Feelings

The first step in coping with the death of a family pet is acknowledging your emotions. We love our pets because they’re by our side through thick and thin. They’re loyal and loving; they never fail to make us smile, even when times are tough. For dog owners, who does not remember arriving home after a tough day at work, walking in the house to a wagging tail and kisses on your face. The loss of a pet is devastating in a way that few people understand if they haven’t also had the experience of losing a pet. It’s common to feel a range of emotions such as sadness, grief, guilt, and even anger. These emotions are completely normal, and you need to realize that this grief is valid and real.  Allow yourself and your family members the space to express these feelings without judgment. Remember, it’s okay to grieve the loss of your beloved pet.

2.      Communicate and Share Memories

Pet Loss Tree - Dog Walking In The ForestSharing memories and stories about your family pet can be a healing experience. Sit down as a family and reminisce about the happy moments, funny antics, and the unconditional love your pet brought into your lives. Open communication creates a supportive environment where everyone can express their emotions and find solace in these shared memories. However, as you remember the great times together with your animal, recognize that everyone grieves differently and in a different timeframe. We don’t want to be judgmental if a family member is not feeling the same as you. Doctor Amy Sullivan, a psychiatrist at the Cleveland Clinic emphasizes, “What’s important is that we recognize that people are experiencing these feelings, and we support them and guide them in each of these different emotions.”

Furthermore, if need be, tap your support system from outside your family group. Reach out to friends, family, or fellow pet owners who have experienced a similar loss. They can provide understanding, empathy, and valuable advice. Additionally, consider joining a pet loss support group either in person or online, where you can connect with others who are going through similar grieving processes. Try Googling “pet loss support group near me” and you should be able to learn about a number of support possibilities near where you live.

3.      Create Physical Memorials

Pet Loss Tree - Dog Over The Rainbow BridgeConsider celebrating the life of a departed pet by creating a memorial for your pet or for a friend’s pet that has passed. Physical memorials are one of the easiest ways to remember a pet. Planting a memorial tree has become a popular and perfect way to honor the memory of a lost pet. A memorial tree for a pet sends the message that you understand and that you’re there during this difficult time. (What dog would not want to have a tree planted in its memory? Especially if your dog enjoyed being outside and taking walks in the woods.) Whether you’re looking for a meaningful way to remember your own beloved pet after they’ve crossed the rainbow bridge or you’d like to send a tribute to a friend or family member who has lost a faithful companion, a memorial tree for the loss of a pet will create a perfect remembrance gift and a lasting legacy. Planting a tree in honor of a dog, cat, bird, or other animal is an endearing and enduring pet loss gift and one that provides many benefits to our planet as well.  Engaging in these memorial activities allows you and your family to pay tribute to the love and joy your pet brought into your lives or those of a friend. The Gifted Tree allows you to honor a beloved companion by planting a tree in US National Forests to create a memorable pet memorial. Several unique and handcrafted tribute designs and pet loss cards are available to send to yourself or to the family of those who lost a family pet. One aspect I really like about the website is if you are struggling to find that perfect pet loss message to include with a tribute, there is a full page of pet loss quotes and poems that you can use. One of my favorites is: “Somewhere between hello and goodbye, there was love, so much love.”


Pet Loss Tree - Sad Looking CatLosing a family pet is an incredibly challenging experience, and coping is a process that can take a long time. But with time, support, and self-care, healing is possible. Remember that grief is a unique journey for each individual in your family, and everyone may cope with it differently. Be patient and understanding with yourselves and each other as you navigate this difficult time. Cherish the memories of your furry friend and allow their love to continue to bring warmth and joy to your lives. As Dr. Sullivan concludes herself “I don’t think you ever move on — you move forward, and the relationship you have with each pet is different. No one’s going to replace that.”

Cemetery Tree

Planting trees in memory of a loved one has become very popular especially in lieu of sending flowers. It makes sense. Trees provide many economic, health and environmental benefits as well as providing a gift to the earth lasting for generations. Here at The Gifted Tree, that is what we do, plant memorial trees. Recently, we have received numerous inquiries from grieving families telling us they want trees planted in memory of their loved one and asking how they can let family and friends know that they would like to have trees planted in remembrance of the deceased. We have listened to you, our customer, and have created a program that will help you accomplish that goal. We call it our Obituary Link Program.

Obituary Link Program

Our new obituary link program provides you with a simple to use, special link to your own custom page. You can then include this link when you write the obituary for your local newspaper or in a celebration of life program informing family and friends on how they can plant memorial trees in remembrance of your loved one. We personalize this page to fit your needs.

Personalized Page With a Custom Link

This personalization allows you to let your family and friends know where you would like the trees to be planted, and where to send the tribute cards or eCards. The best part is that we will create a simple URL (website address) for you to include, making it easy for others to have the memorial tree planted. This website address is only known to you and not accessible to outsiders, only those who you want to know. It cannot be clicked through from our website, only by tyyping the unique URL set up for you. Thus, your personal information is safe and secure.

If you desire, you can provide us a photo of the deceased to include on the page along with the date of birth and death. See the sample below. We can also include any biographical information that you desire.

Sample of Info Included in Obituary Program Page

How to get started

Where To Click On The Gifted Tree's Home Page

Once you are logged onto our website, mouse over the heading “Memorial Trees” located along the top of the page and click on the words Obituary Link Program in the dropdown to take you to the information page. Once there, you can get all the info you need on easily creating your page. All you need to do is provide us with the name of your loved one, where you would like the trees planted and the address where to send the tributes. We will take it from there – creating the page and sending you a proof for your approval. Of course, you can call us at 800-984-2101 and talk to a live person to answer all your questions. We will have you email us your information and requirements and, once received, we will create a mock-up proof for your approval and send it to you. At that point, feel free to make any edits or changes, it is not a problem. We will then finalize your page and make it live. The URL address will be simple,{your last name}. You can then have this website address included in your newspaper’s obituary or include it in a Celebration of Life program. While the ordering process is easy for your family and friends to follow, they always have the option of calling us toll free and talk to a live person who can answer any question or take the order over the phone.

How Long Does It Take To Set Up?

The good news is that we can set your page up very quickly. Depending on when we get your information during the day, we can get you a proof for your approval that day or the next business day. So please check out our website info Obituary Link Program page or call us today to discuss and let us set up a program to plant trees in memory of your loved one.


Magnificent Trees

Giving somebody a gift after they’ve lost a loved one can be an excellent way to show you’re thinking of them during this challenging time, however, there can be particularly treacherous waters to navigate while doing so. Not everybody appreciates materialistic gifts during a time of grieving; it can make it more difficult to move on. Nobody wants to forget about lost loved ones, and everyone copes with these losses in their own way. Sometimes, actual physical gifts can have a negative impact. We have been told many times that while flowers can be nice, they die within a few days and when it is time to discard them, it brings back to mind the loss one more time. The Gifted Tree was created to help give gifting options that will soothe the souls of those who have lost a loved one while making a lasting memory in honor of the individual who passed on.  

Help the Grieving Cope Over Time

Holding hands in compassionate gestureThe Gifted Tree provides a unique, memorable way for the person that lost somebody to know there is an actual living piece of the earth that will last for hundreds of years in the memory of the one they’ve lost. Many times, religious or not, those who lose somebody struggle with the loss because of the finality of death; realizing a loved one is no longer around to provide love, companionship and sage advice is a difficult concept to grasp. Time and time again, The Gifted Tree has given grieving families a bit of respite to know that the one they lost has been remembered and will symbolically live on for generations to come.  Everlasting Memorial Gift Trees are often the most thoughtful gifts because they assist with grieving.

Make a Difference in More than One Way

It’s no secret that we’ve been cutting down trees faster than the earth grows them. It’s an unsustainable, parasitic act, and we must stop before it’s too late. While you can help honor somebody who is no longer with us and assist through the grieving process by planting a memorial tree, you are simultaneously making a difference and giving the earth a gift, too. Humans cut down 15 billion trees annually, a number which continues to climb every year. The Gifted Tree is an inexpensive way to use a loss to the world’s benefit. Help fight global warming and save dozens of endangered species by planting a tree in memory of a loved one.

Pet Loss Trees

Man and dog on pier on mountain lake

Please remember that lost loved ones aren’t always human family members and friends. Losing a pet can often be just as difficult for many – especially if the pet has been a part of the family for many years.  As Winnie the Pooh said, “How lucky I am to have something that makes saying goodbye so hard.” Pet Loss Trees come with several unique and memorable tribute certificate options to be displayed in the family’s home that lost a pet. Perhaps as you go through the ordering process, consider having the tree planted in a location that best suits the pet’s ancestry. The Gifted Tree has 70+ tree planting locations in the United States National Forest and in many countries around the world. The actual forest or country will be listed on the tree planting certificate.


Should you want to contact a representative to ask questions, or place an order, speak to a live person, toll-free, by calling  800-984-2101 Monday through Friday between the hours of 9-4, Eastern time zone. Orders can be placed 24/7 online through The Gifted Tree website. Be remembered for giving the best, most thoughtful gift when your friends lose a loved one, by giving the gift of life as a memorial to those who are gone.


Ireland Landscape

This Friday, March 17th, millions around the world will celebrate St. Patrick’s Day. When we think of Ireland, we think GREEN. After all, Ireland is referred to as the Emerald Isle, an enduring and endearing name. Ireland is called the Emerald Isle for good reason, as it’s covered by lush green grasses that are fed by its mild climate and plentiful rainfall. We would think it is covered with trees, but believe it or not, Ireland is the least tree-covered country in Europe! I bring this fact up as a reason to plant a tree in Ireland for St. Patrick’s Day this year. Better yet, make this a start of what should become a St. Patrick’s Day tradition. As important as living trees have been in Ireland’s cultural history, the fact is Ireland needs trees, lots more trees.

The Importance of Trees In Ireland

Irish sign postsLiving trees have played a central role in the practical daily and spiritual lives of the Irish people. Trees served as landmarks and icons of family and clan identity, and their importance can be measured by the great number of tree-based place names in Ireland – of the 16,000 towns in Ireland, 13,000 are named after trees. Irish myth, story, and music abound with reference to trees, demonstrating the degree to which they were understood and valued by the people. Reference is also made to trees being the home of fairies and spirits. Traveling the Irish countryside, as I have done many times, one is sure to find hand-crafted fairy homes scattered about the forest, always bringing a huge smile to my eyes.Fairy Home in Tree

Celtic Birth Trees By Month

The degree to which trees were understood and valued by the culture even goes back centuries. The Celtic druids had a profound connection with trees and believed they were vessels of infinite wisdom. They felt the entire universe existed in the form of a tree. The roots grew deep below, representing the past. The trunk sat in everyday life, representing the present. The branches reached up high into the heavens, representing the future and afterlife. They developed Celtic tree astrology based on the lunar calendar, so it has thirteen astrological signs rather than twelve. Accordingly, the Druids designated a tree to each of the thirteen moon phases in their calendar and associated each tree with a type of personality. They even determined which signs were most compatible. Take a little time and discover more about your birth tree and the personality traits associated with it and with what other birth tree(s) you are most compatible with in our blog about birth trees by months. If you are so inclined, The Gifted Tree offers a birth tree package which includes a package of tree seeds of that particular birth tree, allowing the recipient to plant his or her birth tree in their own yard.

County Wexford, Ireland Planting Project

The Gifted Tree makes it easy to plant both memorial and celebration trees in Ireland this St. Patrick’s Day, or anytime of the year. Our planting project is located in County Wexford in the southeast part of the island. This planting project will make it possible to create a real forest ecosystem with all its potential for biodiversity, a refuge for wild fauna and flora. The species of trees to be planted in this project include oak, birch, alder and other various hardwoods. The planting of dynamic species in this area will help recreate a functional forest ecosystem providing various ecosystem services. The growth of this new sustainably managed forest will capture atmospheric carbon dioxide, thus combating global warming. The diversity of tree species will give this forest greater resilience to the natural hazards such as storms, droughts and diseases that the forests of Europe are more and more regularly subjected to. This project will also bring a forest atmosphere to this agricultural plain landscape with a new landscape layer.


Ireland Thatched Cottage


It is possible to visit the planting project virtually on your computer. It is best to view on your PC as opposed to a mobile device. View the general area of your planting by clicking on the following link: Once connected to the map, feel free to zoom in and out to get a feel of the general planting area as well as its location in Ireland, Europe, and the world.

A St. Patrick’s Day Tradition

Now that you know that Ireland needs more trees, go ahead and start a new tradition for St. Patrick’s day, as well as any time of year, and plant a memorial tree or celebration tree in Ireland. A beautiful, majestic tree is a living memorial of life-changing events. Its strength, long lifespan, and regal stature give it a monument-like quality and make it a powerful tribute to a life well lived or an occasion worth of celebration. And that is no blarney.

Couple holding hands walking through the dark hedges in Ireland

In April 2022 The Gifted Tree published a blog titled “The Monarch Butterfly and the Importance of Trees.” Since the publication of this well-read blog, we have received numerous questions on how individuals can help save this beloved species. I will delve into that answer in a moment.  Unfortunately, since the publication of the blog, scientists have placed the iconic orange and black species on an endangered list because of its fast-dwindling numbers. Endangered is two steps away from extinction, and while this is not imminent, it is the rapid rate of decline in the numbers of monarchs that has scientists worried. The monarch butterfly’s struggle to survive is the result of habitat destruction, increased pesticide use and disruptions along its migration route caused by extreme weather events linked to climate change.

Why is the Monarch Butterfly Important

Monarch Butterfly Pollinating a Flower

Monarch butterflies are prolific pollinators and critical to the health of our planet! Monarch butterflies and the pollination services they provide contribute to the sustainability of entire ecosystems. We should be concerned about this decline in the numbers of monarchs because as pollinators, the monarch butterfly migration across the continent provides an invaluable service, essential for many ecosystems to thrive. It is thanks to pollinators, such as butterflies, bees, and other insects, that we have many of the flowers and dietary staples that we enjoy, like squash and blueberries.  As monarchs forage for nectar, they can unintentionally move pollen within and between flowers. This movement of pollen helps flowering plants make seeds, which can eventually disperse and grow into more plants. Seeds and fruit produced as a result of successful pollination can also feed other organisms. While feeding on the nectar that comprises their diet, they pollinate many types of wildflowers — providing an invaluable ecological service to forests and farmlands across their range. They also provide an important food source for birds, small animals, and other insects.

Planting Trees in Mexico Helps

As explained in more detail in our blog, every year, in the early fall, as temperatures begin to fall in North America, millions of monarchs start an epic 3,000-mile migration. They are bound south, instinctively seeking the forests that offer the perfect conditions for overwintering, the welcoming montane oyamel fir and native pine forests of central Mexico, mainly in the state of Michoacán. Adding to the mystique of thousands of butterflies funneling into the Mexican forests every fall is the fact that monarchs arrive around the same time when Día de los Muertos (Day of the Dead) is celebrated in early November. “In Mexico, even before the Spanish colonization, you could see images of butterflies through stone carvings and paintings of Indigenous groups,” said Joel Perez-Castaneda, Project Director for The Nature Conservancy in the state of Indiana. “In some stories, they are the returning souls of the loved ones. In others, butterflies are returning warriors that were killed in battle. The truth is that a lot of Indigenous groups believe that, even after passing on, their souls lived through nature and the environment.”Day of the Dead Celebration Michoacan Mexico

Oyamel firs and native pines do not provide food for the monarchs, but are uniquely suited to provide the climate and shelter that eastern migratory monarchs need to rest after their long migration — and to survive the winter. Here, they rest and conserve their energy until seasonal changes provide signals to the butterfly that it is time to start migrating back north to lay eggs and begin the cycle again. The Gifted Tree now has a planting project in the region surrounding the Monarch butterfly Biosphere Reserve in and around the Monarch Butterfly Biosphere Reserve in the municipalities of Senguio and Ocampo Michoacán, Mexico.

Butterfly migration Michoacan MexicoAs mentioned, the Abies religiosa (Oyamel) tree, which has a lifespan of up to 300 years, helps form the traditional nesting site of the monarch butterfly. These unique trees are being lost due to a one-two punch of overharvesting and climate change. Their strong wood is used to build train tracks — and during the establishment of the Mexican railroad system, logging and manufacturing sites were established, with profound effects. In addition to overharvesting impacts, the Abies religiosa can’t tolerate temperatures above 77 degrees Fahrenheit, and with steadily rising temperatures in its home range, it has been forced to move further and further up the mountainside in search of cooler conditions.

By planting oyamel and other native montane oyamel fir and pine forests, as The Gifted Tree’s project in Mexico does, we can help protect vital monarch nesting grounds, restore degraded lands, improve  water filtration and watershed health, protect vital ecosystem services for nearby communities, and more.

What You Can Do To Help The Monarch Butterfly

As mentioned previously, we have received numerous inquiries as to how individuals, in addition to planting trees in Mexico, can help in the protection of the monarch butterfly. I will try to outline below several ways to get involved and also provide some resources to seek more information.

1.      Plant a Butterfly Garden in Your Back Yard

backyard butterfly garden

Butterfly gardens are composed of a combination of host and nectar plants that provide food for both the adult and larval stages of butterflies. Monarchs need nectar to provide energy as they breed, for their migratory journey, and to build reserves for the long winter. Nectar from flowers provides the fuel monarchs need to fly. If there are not any blooming plants to collect nectar from when the monarchs rest on their migration, they will not have any energy to continue. Planting monarch flowers that bloom when they will be passing will help the monarchs reach their destination. Creating more monarch habitat will help work to reverse their decline.

Plant milkweed! Monarch caterpillars need milkweed to grow and develop. Monarch butterfly caterpillars are uniquely picky in that they only feed on milkweed plants. As a result, milkweed is the only host plant of the monarch butterfly. Unfortunately, human development has decreased the availability of milkweed and plants utilized for nectar There are over 100 milkweed species that are native to North America, many of which are used by monarchs. To learn which species to plant in your region, and how to plant them, visit the Bring Back the Monarchs Campaign at: Caterpillar on Milkweed

2.      Reduce or Eliminate Pesticide Use

Pesticides can harm monarchs and other beneficial insects directly by toxicity. Pesticides also can cause indirect harm by reduction of host and nectar plant availability. Limiting pesticide use in your yard will not only help monarch butterflies, but it will help protect other butterflies, pollinators, and beneficial insects. There are ways to protect your garden from pests without harming monarchs according to the website Farm and Dairy.

Leave milkweed alone. Regardless of what strategies you use to control pests in your garden, milkweed should be left alone. It is monarch butterflies’ only host plant and also provides a source of nectar. Milkweed should never be treated with pesticides and likely won’t need much maintenance. It is resilient and spreads quickly when given the space to do so.
Plant more natives. Native plants provide more benefits to wildlife and are better equipped to survive in your backyard. They naturally require less maintenance.
Space plants out. When plants are spaced according to their mature size and gardens are not overcrowded, it limits a pest’s ability to spread throughout the garden.
Don’t bring pests home. Before bringing any plants home from the nursery, inspect them thoroughly to make sure you won’t be introducing any pests.
Live with some pest presence. A certain level of pest presence is normal and natural. Caterpillars chew holes in the leaves of their host plants, so treating them with pesticides would be counterproductive to conserving butterfly populations.
Wash away pests. A lot of times, aphids and other pest problems can be controlled simply by washing them away with the hose. It may take a couple of showers to prevent them from returning, but it’s safer than using pesticides.
Look for alternatives. Scale insects can be dabbed away with rubbing alcohol, slugs can be caught with traps and worms can be plucked off by hand. When there’s an alternative to using pesticides, use it.
Limit the odds of a monarch butterfly coming into contact with pesticides. There are a number of tactics for using pesticides that can help limit the odds of a monarch actually coming into contact with them — only treat affected plants, spray pesticides when they’ll do the least damage, remove flowers from plants treated with pesticides and choose pesticides carefully.

3.      Reduce Your Carbon Footprint

Even with small changes, such as using less electricity, you can do your part in reducing carbon emissions and mitigating the effects of climate change. Increasing seasonal temperatures have the potential to move areas where breeding and overwintering occur. If climate change causes the temperatures to get too warm during spring, monarch butterflies might migrate farther north during the summer seeking out cooler ambient temperatures. Then when winter comes, the longer trip to overwintering sites in Mexico could overtax them and decrease their reproduction. Some organizations to check out to learn more about how you can get involved in protecting the monarch include the aforementioned Monarch Watch and The Xerces Society. Each have projects that you and your family can contribute to. We all need to work together to protect the balance and biodiversity of our natural ecosystems for humans and nature to thrive together.

Learn more about the monarch butterfly and the importance of trees. Honor a loved one by planting a memorial gift tree or celebration tree in Mexico’s Monarch Butterfly Biosphere Reserve and help save the monarch butterflies.



Monarch Butterfly Pollinating Beautiful Flowers

A monarch butterfly floats by and a child’s face lights up. Viewing the semi-annual monarch butterfly migration causes adult jaws to drop. To both young and old, the beautiful monarch butterfly is one of the most recognized and beloved of all insects. They are studied in school and their habits are watched intensely by both professional and citizen scientists. We take for granted their jumping from flower to flower in our gardens or fluttering about open natural areas of the United States as their appearance announces the arrival of warmer weather. Their long-term survival, however, is being studied as concerns arise and become more prevalent about threats to the monarch butterfly’s existence.

Monarch Butterfly MigrationMonarch Butterflies Wintering on Tree

As birds do every year, fly south in the winter and back north in the spring, the monarch butterfly does the same. They are the only butterfly to do such. Unlike other butterflies that can adapt to the cold northern winters, monarch butterflies cannot survive the colder winters up north. Receiving a cue from mother nature, they know it is time to fly south, sometimes traveling as far as 3,000 miles using a combination of air and thermal currents. How the monarch finds its way is still a bit of a mystery that is being studied, but it appears to be a combination of directional aids such as the magnetic pull of the earth and the position of the sun.

An Epic Winter Journey

As soon ago as the 1990s, hundreds of millions of monarchs made the journey from the northern United States and Canada to the fir forests in the Sierra Madre mountains of central Mexico. They would remain in that Mexican habitat until the weather warmed back up and then make the return journey north. Imagine viewing this spectacle, swarms of monarch butterflies creating a cloud dense enough to momentarily block the sun.
Monarchs roost for the winter in the high elevation oyamel fir forests as the mountain hillsides of these forests provide an ideal microclimate for the butterflies. The butterflies migrate to this forest because it has all the elements they need to reproduce and survive. Of great importance is that the forest environ is silent, a critical factor for the monarchs. There are also clear streams running between the bushes, and the temperature is cool but not too cold, with temperatures maintaining an ideal range of 32 to 60 degrees farenheit. Monarchs do not eat while wintering in Mexico, having “filled up” on their migration path. That is why the temperature in Mexico is important – if the temperature is too low, the monarchs will be forced to use their fat reserves. The humidity in the oyamel forest also assures the monarchs won’t dry out also allowing them to conserve their energy. Monarchs cluster together to stay warm, and tens of thousands of monarchs can cluster on a single tree. This is quite a sight!Monarch Butterflies Wintering on Tree

Deforestation Threatens the Monarch Butterfly

Conservation of the monarch’s winter forest habitat is very important to the survival of monarchs. The Mexican Government recognized the importance of Oyamel forests to monarch butterflies and created the Monarch Butterfly Biosphere Reserve in 1986. But is this enough? What used to be a migration of hundreds of millions of monarch butterflies has shrunk considerably. The Xerces Society, whose mission is to protect pollinators such as the monarch, estimates that only a fraction of the population remains—a decline of approximately 70% has been seen in central Mexico and a decline of >95% has been seen in California.
Much of the land within the Monarch Butterfly Biosphere Reserve, which now encompasses around 300 square miles of land, is communally owned land, a piece of land collectively farmed by a number of individual farmers under a system supported by the state. The residents of these communities are poor farmers who have relied on these forests for lumbering, firewood, and construction material for generations. Although logging was outlawed when the Monarch Butterfly Biosphere Reserve was created in 1986, illegal logging remains a problem today, and the resulting deforestation threatens the wintering habitat of the monarch butterfly.

Why Monarch Butterflies Are Important?

The monarch butterfly is part of a group of insects known as pollinators. While being beautiful to observe, pollinators are essential to our environment as they carry pollen between flowers and plants, fertilizing them so they produce fruits and seeds. The ecological service they provide is necessary for the reproduction of over 85% of the world’s flowering plants, including more than two-thirds of the world’s crop species. The United States alone grows more than 100 crops that either need or benefit from pollinators. Beyond agriculture, pollinators are the foundation of most terrestrial ecosystems. Fruits and seeds derived from insect pollination are a major part of the diet of approximately 25% of all birds, and a wide range of mammals. Humans need the services of these pollinators, including the monarch butterfly. Unfortunately, in many places, the essential service of pollination is at risk from disease, habitat loss, and pesticide use, which could have a devastating impact on us as humans.

What Can You Do To Help Protect The Monarch Butterfly?

Monarch Butterflies on tree branch with a blue sky

One way to help is to educate yourself on the monarch, its habitat and needs. This “Protecting Monarchs” fact sheet is a great resource. The United States Forest Service is another great resource, stressing practicing good stewardship in being a thoughtful consumer and a good citizen of the earth. Even your backyard can become an oasis for monarchs, and you can register your butterfly garden as a Monarch Waystation and assist in the conservation of the monarch butterfly in the United States. Learn more at, a nonprofit education, conservation, and research program based at the University of Kansas that focuses on the monarch butterfly.

Protecting Monarchs and Preserving the Monarch Migration

While there are things you can do at home to help protect the monarch butterfly, it is harder to help in Mexico. The Gifted Tree now has a tree planting project in Mexico, the Monarch Butterfly Project, to help reforest and conserve the monarch’s Mexico habitat. Communities and landowners will be taught sustainable forestry practices such as proper planting techniques, sustainable harvesting, the importance of recycling and waste management, and land and plant protection. The project in Mexico will plant native species, including Oyamel pine, smooth-bark Mexican pine, Chihuahua pine, and Mexican cypress. All with the goal of making sure this migration corridor is restored and protected for future generations of monarchs.

Memorial and Celebration Trees Planted in MexicoMap of Mexico with Monarch Biosphere Reserve area marked

You can participate when you plant a Memorial or Celebration tree. When ordering the tribute, click on Mexico as the planting location. The tree will be planted in Mexico’s Monarch  Butterfly Biosphere Reserve and the tree planting certificate will note that fact so the recipient will know that the tree planted will help preserve the monarch butterfly population and help it grow and prosper. Finally, check out our two new butterfly pop up cards that we added as tribute designs. Both guaranteed to bring a smile to the recipient, no matter young or old.



Festive Holiday Décor Objects with a Face Mask

This holiday season is shaping up to be like no other.  While in normal times we might be planning to travel to see family or getting together with work colleagues or friends, the COVID-19 pandemic has caused us to reevaluate. Gatherings will be much more limited in scope or non-existent for some. Furthermore, the ability to shop for presents and deliver them in-person has been stymied by the pandemic. Stores have limited hours or are closing down entirely. Friends are hesitant to have you stop by to exchange gifts, even for a short while. This fact is causing a lot of stress and depression, but that does not mean you cannot connect with family and friends in other meaningful ways. There are a number of ways this holiday season to give gifts in a touchless way; gifts that give back and that continue to give long after the holiday season is over. We want to highlight some of our favorites:

1. Animated eCards that plant a tree

The ultimate no-touch gift will also bring a smile to the face of all recipients. And if you are worried about delivery delays, you can relax when ordering our eCards. Sometimes you don’t have a physical street address; with an eCard, all you need is an email address and the eCard is on its way with guaranteed delivery to the recipient’s email box on a date of your choosing. The Gifted Tree’s premium digital eCard not only includes the planting of a tree(s), but deliver an elegant, electronic gift tree planting certificate by emulating the experience of opening a traditionally mailed printed certificate. We create an animated online experience – not only planting trees but saving trees as well by not sending a paper certificate.

Click to View 12 Holiday Digital eCard Options

Sample Holiday Digital eCard Front

Ordering is made easy – choose from one of 12 holiday card designs, enter a personal message and the recipient’s email address. You can also have the eCard sent to your email address for you to forward onto the recipient. Schedule delivery for whenever you desire and check that gift off the list. The Gifted Tree’s premium digital eCard will be memorable and stress free yet with all the accolades sure to follow.


2. Donation to a Charity in Someone’s Name

Many charities are struggling to raise funds this year as they are not able to hold their annual fund-raising events. Virtual fundraisers are common replacements, but the results while something, are not bringing in the same amount of donations as normal. Make a donation to a charity of your choice this year and let the charity know it is in honor or celebration of an individual(s) or family. Most charities will notify the recipients of this fact so they will be aware of your generosity.

The Gifted Tree also has a tree charity donation program. Directly help the hard work of a worthwhile cause by planting your gift tree in our Trees for a Cause grove located in a U.S. National Forest. When you choose the gift trees in our Trees for a Cause program, The Gifted Tree will donate 10% of the purchase price to that organization to help fund its valuable programs. Choose from Our Military Kids, which empowers military kids by funding sports, arts and other enrichment activities when their parents are deployed overseas with the National Guard or Reserves, or recovering from severe injuries sustained in a post-9/11 overseas mission. Or choose to benefit Direct Relief, a humanitarian organization, active in all 50 states and more than 80 countries, with a mission to improve the health and lives of people affected by poverty or emergencies. As part of its COVID-19 pandemic relief efforts, Direct Relief is working in overdrive to get protective gear and critical care medications to as many health workers as possible, as quickly as possible, with emergency deliveries leaving daily for medical facilities across the U.S. In either case, the recipient will receive the charitable tree planting certificate tribute and be made aware of what the funds will accomplish to help these charities.

3. Local Shop and Restaurant Gift Cards

At some point the pandemic will be in the rear-view mirror and life will return to “normal.”  In the meantime, many local shop and restaurants in your area are struggling to survive. We want them to survive and be around when “normal” returns, and purchasing gift cards to these local establishments will help them survive by providing much needed cash now. Your gift recipient will be able to enjoy the bounty provided by your holiday gift cards when everyone is able to get back out. A win-win for everyone and something for your gift recipient to look forward to. Furthermore, your gift will provide a double bonus – not only will the recipient thank you when the gift card is received, but will think of you again when the gift card is redeemed.

4. Treats for the House-Bound

A number of us are excellent cooks or fabulous bakers. Some have specialties that are known around the neighborhood. Put that talent to good use this holiday season by preparing a meal or a dessert for the elderly to enjoy or those that are house bound with no family members in the area. Create and deliver the goodies, but notify the recipient in advance so you can just leave it on their doorstep, ensuring a contact-free handoff. A smile or thumbs up through the front door window will let you know your generosity is most appreciated. And while a safe hand-off is top of mind, also make sure to wear your mask while preparing the gift to ensure safe enjoyment.

5. Plant a Gift Tree

Planting a Tree sapling in Rich Soil

Planting a tree in honor or celebration of an individual(s) or family is the ultimate “green” gift that will continue to give long after the holiday season is over. The holiday season is also an appropriate time to remember those (including pets) who are no longer with us by planting a memorial tree in their honor. The Gifted Tree plants your holiday tree in 30+ plus countries around the world, one of which might be very meaningful to the gift recipient. Announce the holiday gift tree planting with one of our unique and creative tribute card certificates. From handmade paper to several framed options, all of them include the planting of trees. The benefits are numerous, and reactions are priceless, especially for those who don’t need another material thing. So order now, create a wow!


There you have it, a few unique holiday gifts to give during the COVID-19 pandemic. The year 2020 has been a struggle, but this holiday season, not only can you bring a smile to someone’s face, you can do it safely AND help make the world a better place.

Colorful field of wild flowers

With the COVID-19 pandemic dominating the news and our lives, and with stress levels soaring because of it, I thought I would discuss a topic of a lighter note: Wildflower and Tree Seed Bombs. While it might suggest a topic of a less serious note, some of the words associated with the subject have some severe associations. Just the word “bomb” does not bring to mind something the family can make and do together. On the contrary, making these seed bombs is also a fun family project while we are subject to stay-at-home laws.

And the hobby of “guerrilla gardening” also does not conjure up an image of a fun way to spend a weekend day. Though it sounds radical, guerrilla gardening is not an overtly political or polarizing endeavor. Its objective is simple: transform unused land into gardens. People all over the globe are drawn to this humble mission and are taking up arms in the form of shovels, compost, plants, bulbs, and seed bombs in an attempt to bring their communities back to life.Urban guerrilla gardening site with new plants and trees

One might think that wildflower and tree seed bombing is a newfangled hipster way to plant seed and help the environment, but not so. Even though one can throw the seed bombs out of a moving car, from a bicycle, or on a hike, seed bombing is an ancient practice that goes back to the feudal days of Japan. While on the surface it seems like a simple concept, like most things in life, to get the most good out of it, one needs to put a little thought into it. Furthermore, believe it or not, seed bombing can be illegal, so here are some tips from a New York Times article and from a few other DIY gardening articles.


While there are a number of seed bomb recipes one can use, make sure you use one that can lead to the greatest rate of seed germination and ultimate success. Just like any good recipe in the kitchen, for this garden recipe you will need a mixing bowl and baking sheets. Summarizing a recipe from Daniel Cunningham, a horticulturalist at Texas A&M, add one-part native wildflower seed mix to four parts powdered clay and five parts fine-gained compost. Mix the dry ingredients thoroughly and stir in water slowly until you have a thick bread-dough consistency.

Gather a small pinch of this seed-infused mud mixture and roll it into marble-sized balls. A cup of seeds can yield dozens of the seed bomb balls. Set the balls on a cookie sheet and let them dry in the sun. These clay balls protect the seed from the heat of the sun. They’re heavy enough to be unaffected by the wind or heavy rains and the hard clay casing deters animal nibblers as well. Person holding a seed bomb ball in their fingersIn dry areas, the shape of the ball actually gives enough shade to conserve moisture. The seeds begin to germinate, and the ball breaks apart. The small pile of crumbles provides the start for the root system but is still heavy enough to anchor the emerging seeds to the ground.

Types of seeds to use and when to plant

Make sure the seeds you are using are native to your area, whether they be wildflower or tree seeds. The last thing you want to do is introduce invasive species to your area. I have spent countless hours in the local National Park and surrounding areas removing invasive species that are wrecking havoc on old established forest growth.

Fall to early spring is the best time to make and throw seed bombs. Seed bombs need water and moderate temperatures to succeed. The seeds of many northern species need to experience a winter cold period before the seeds will germinate. Sowing the seeds during the cold and wet time of year will give these seeds the best chance to work their way into a soil niche and provide the cold stratification they need for germination. By mid-May, the landscape begins to warm, and the soil dries out. This makes late spring a riskier environment for seed germination if you cannot provide supplemental water.Tree Seed Bomb

Leaving a Positive Impact

Now that your seed bombs are ready to go and the time of year for planting is right, now what. Believe it or not, you just can’t throw your seed bombs wherever you want. It can actually be illegal to do so. We don’t want you to end up in jail! Don’t throw your seed bombs on farm land, you don’t want to interfere with agricultural production. If in an urban area, while most people won’t call the police on you for trying to liven up a blighted area, it is best to get permission first so you won’t be accused of vandalism or trespassing. Seed bombs are a delightful idea and, if done with the planning previously discussed, I really can’t see why anyone would reasonably object.

Using native plant seed balls is a great way to reseed the landscape and to reclaim bare patches of land. In Texas, some of the highest concentrations of wildflowers can be found along highways thanks in part to the work of former first lady, Lady Bird Johnson, over 50 years ago. And there have even been proposals in recent years to adopt the idea on an industrial scale to repopulate vast areas with trees. Reforesting devastated, blighted areas that are lacking vegetation is what The Gifted Tree advocates, by planting memorial and celebration trees in 30 plus countries worldwide. As Lady Bird Johnson once said: “ugliness is so grim.”Beautiful purple wildflowers along Texas highways

Old painting of Women Writing a Letter sitting at a table

One of our most popular and revisited blogs was written over a year ago and focused on “How to Write a Sympathy Letter.” This page offers a range of heartfelt sympathy messages to include on the tree planting certificate when one struggles to find just the right words. There is a good reason why folks search out help when writing a condolence card, because it is not a simple task.

Unfortunately, this task has gotten even more difficult with the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) global pandemic as we have  all experienced dramatic changes to our daily lives and regular routines. Helping those mourn has become complicated as we can’t gather to say goodbye, we can’t embrace the bereaved family and we can’t join as a community to celebrate a life well lived. Not only is it a difficult time and a difficult task, but it seems that just about everyone knows someone who has passed. After reading a recent article in The New York Times by Katherine Rosman, it got me thinking that perhaps it was a good time to revisit the subject of how to write a sympathy card, especially in the time of the COVID-19 pandemic.

COVID-19 pandemic virus cells

Even at a time of perpetual Zoom gatherings and virtual hugs, the grieving process landscape has dramatically been altered. One of the sad effects of the coronavirus is social distance, which has kept  us from physically comforting others during the times they are most desperate for a compassionate touch. It has made it that even more important to reach out and connect with someone close to you. Here at The Gifted Tree, we can help provide  that support by planting memorial trees (and especially during these times, trees make a great alternative to funeral flowers.) The planting of the tree brings great comfort at a time of grieving and the ability to include a personal message on the certificate, as well as the optional accompanying card, is an ideal way to express your sentiments. Keep in mind that by sending a physical card, as opposed to text, not only does the tree planting certificates provide immediate comfort, but it is a wonderful keepsake to look back on at anniversaries and other times of reflections.

So, if you are struggling as you try to construct a sympathy message, realize this is a tough task. Man struggling to find the right words for a sympathy card

Sympathy Message Writing Tips

Here are some suggestions (whether communicated on the tree certificate itself or via the separate card enclosure) for expressing sympathy clearly and supportively to the bereaved. As Ms. Rosman states in her article:

  • Keep in mind that it is important to consider the tone of your message and it is okay to convey an air of solemnity, even as you express personal warmth. You want to keep in mind the seriousness of the situation.
  • Be direct and do not meander. Start with the reason you are writing, such as I was so sorry to hear about the loss of your brother.
  • Be gentle and instead of using the word “death” you might want to substitute the word “loss” or “passing.”
  • If appropriate, explain how you knew the person, how well you knew the person and the role that the person played in your life. You might want to include a short memory of the deceased. The reader will cherish that memory.
  • Acknowledge unfamiliarity. Some of the most comforting condolence notes are sent not because we knew and loved the deceased, but because we care about the survivor(s). In this case, reflect on your affection for the person you are writing to as it relates to the death of their loved one.
  • Acknowledge current circumstances. Given the extraordinary ways that COVID-19 is interfering with end-of-life interactions and mourning rituals, it is appropriate to recognize this if you’re moved to do so.
  • Don’t stress about writing a long message. Short messages are just as powerful and, in most cases, better received.
  • Offer a wish for the future and conclude with a caring sign-off that is appropriate to your relationship with the recipient.

Mother and Daughter embracing and comforting each other

The novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic has forced  people to forgo human-to-human interaction, which runs counter to all our instincts. While it may be challenging to write a condolence message, sometimes just getting started is the most difficult part. Using some of the above suggestions can hopefully be the jump start you need, and remember that you don’t have to be Shakespeare. Your memorable and simply presented message to honor a life well-lived will stand out and have a lasting impact, especially when it is accompanied by the planting of a tree. As one customer stated: “The tree planting and card message comforted me in a way I never expected they would.”

Get Started with the Gifted Tree

Send an everlasting tribute with the Gifted Tree. Show that you care by planting a beautiful tree in a U.S. National Forest or another location in one of 30 countries on six continents. A memorial tree is the most meaningful tribute to a life well-lived.