Trees make wonderful gifts. And they last longer than ties.
Here are a few cool reasons to give a tree as a Father's Day gift:
1. It will be an awesome memory for years to come.
2. Someday it will provide a nice shady spot for Dad to relax.
3. Trees help the environment.
4. Trees can increase your property value.
5. Trees don't shrink in the laundry.
Okay. Just threw that last one in to see if you were really reading. But seriously, you don't have to wash or dust or get the oil changed in a tree, yet it will provide value for years (and future generations).
If this is totally the way you want to go this year, then here are some tips and thoughts about gifting something so wonderful:
- Trees are beautiful to look at.
- Some trees grow food.
- Trees filter rainwater and produce oxygen.
- Trees provide shade for people and homes for animals.
- Trees are relatively low maintenance.
- Certain trees can add value to your home.
- They hold tree-houses, hammocks and tire-swings.
- Trees mean "nature" and nature is "manly". (So I've been told by my husband.)
- Even if they die or you tire of them they can be repurposed (which isn't really an acceptable thing to do with most living gifts.)
- They get kinda big.
- Some trees leave bits of rubbish around them.
- Some trees produce sticky sap.
- Flowering trees can attract stinging insects.
- They can die or fall over on homes or cars.
- They will not play fetch. (But they will throw a stick at you from time to time.)
First off, not everyone in the world will want a tree. Some people may not have room for one. Here are some questions to ask before you splurge at the nursery:
- Is there room for a tree?
- Would my father/husband/etc. want a tree?
- Is it a high maintenance tree? (does it shed a lot of leaves or limbs?)
- Is the person receiving the tree allergic? (to trees/fruits/seeds/insect stings)
- Are there any restrictions for planting trees where they live?
- Is this a tree that will grow well in there planting zone?
- Is it a strong tree? (Will it hold up well to strong weather?)
- Is it prone to diseases?
- Is it considered a "weed" or nuisance tree? (Does it reproduce like mad?)
- Is it a slow growing tree, or fast?
Since a tree can easily outlive the humans that plant it, it's important to put some thought into what you buy.
When we chose the trees for our place (to slowly replace the ugly, topped, catalpa trees already here), we chose a maple and a mimosa.
The maple was chosen because it is tolerant to whatever weird weather and bugs Oklahoma can sling at it. It also grows fast and provides lovely colors.
I chose the mimosa because it is one of my favorite trees. It grows super fast, and has these amazing, sweet blossoms that look like pink cotton candy.
Which Tree Is Right?
But trees also have symbolic meanings too, and some of them add a little something special when you are choosing a gift. Here are some common trees and their associations:
If you do decide to give a fruit tree, the apple is a classic choice. Some can be miniature, which makes them ideal for small yards. They also have lovely blooms and attract bees and butterflies.
Over time, the apple has come to be associated with wisdom, purity, and sometimes immortality.
In Celtic and other cultures, the apple was associated with love. Gypsy love spells often included the use of an apple.
A beech tree can grow to be very large, sometimes over 100 feet. The crown of leaves is usually very dense, creating plenty of shade. Not many things will grow in the shade of a beech, so it may not be the best idea for a very small yard.
The beech is considered to be a spiritual tree. Prayers made beneath a beech are thought to be conveyed directly to the heavens. It is also a tree of knowledge.
The elm is a large tree that can provide a lot of shade. It can grow almost anywhere, and can tolerate many soil types and weather conditions.
The elm is one of the "strength" trees, including oak and alder. The elm may be considered even stronger than these, since its wood is durable, difficult to split, and resistant to rot.
Because of the enduring nature of the elm, it is associated with strength, longevity, and the female spirit. It is considered a kind tree, and one known to attract fairies and elves.
Maples are another tall tree. They produce brilliant foliage in the autumn, and are very durable through droughts and freezes.
Maple trees are thought to bring balance and harmony between the male and female aspects of life. They are also associated with practicality. (I certainly considered this when planting my maple!)
The pine tree is revered as a sacred tree in many cultures. It is also a wonderful tree to have in your yard. The pine needles create a fragrant atmosphere, and capture the sound of the wind. The needles also make a natural mulch beneath the tree.
In many ancient religions, the pine tree was worshiped as a divine being. Because it is evergreen, it is associated with longevity, health, and wisdom.
Few trees are as beautiful as the weeping willow. Willows enjoy water, which means they may not be suited for people living in drought prone areas.
Willows have long been associated with psychic abilities and spiritual as well as physical healing. The willow tree is very flexible...the branches are limber and can be bent without breaking.
Therefore, it is a symbol of strength, resiliency, resistances, and adaptability.
Willows are also associated with mourning. The tree, and likenesses of the tree were often used in funeral arrangements and ceremonies.
Other Tree Meanings
Many other trees can be given as symbolic gifts. Trees can be personalized to suit a recipient's gender, culture, or social role.
Here are some more trees you could consider:
- Olive--immortality and peace
- Elder--creativity, healing and regeneration
- Fig--fertility and luck
Don't forget, many trees can be grown indoors for a long time (or for years if properly trimmed and trained).
If a living tree is out of the question, maybe some tree art would be a good gift idea. Here are some lovely art prints of trees to consider: