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memorial tree under the treemembrance scheme

Birmingham’s approach to requests for memorial & commemorative trees

The purpose of the Treemembrance: Commemorative Tree Programme is to encourage the retention of large mature trees by adoption, and to further add new trees to Birmingham’s urban forest. In doing so, this gives the sponsor the opportunity to commemorate an event or person.

This guidance is to provide information on the planting of commemorative trees as memorials and celebrations, in and around the various parks managed by the City Council or partner organisations.

Treemembrance Background

People often wish to plant trees as memorials or to commemorate major life events:

Weddings | Engagements | Holidays | Anniversaries | Baptism | Memorials | Special Events | Parents | Friends | Outstanding Accomplishments

There are many places where commemorative trees are welcome. Opportunities exist where tree planting is part of a landscape programme in parks and gardens, or in the establishment of avenues, hedgerows, and new woods. For a variety of reasons, it may be harder to accommodate tree planting in existing woods or other mature landscapes.

Our Position on Treemembrance

BTP respond positively to requests for commemorative tree planting, in most cases, on behalf of the City Council. Planting sites are offered when there is high probability the planted tree will remain undisturbed to maturity, but this isn’t guaranteed.

Management for conservation of the surrounding landscape, or its biodiversity, will take priority over the protection of an individual tree. Any tree planting must be in-keeping with management plans for the site both now and in the future.

As a consequence we are not able to accept planting proposals for designated country parks or areas of special conservation status (LNR, SSSI, SLINC). This will include, but is not limited to, Sutton Park, Woodgate Valley, and Lickey Hills. Please contact us beforehand if you think your area falls in these categories.

When Do We Take Action?

The following conditions will apply:

Wherever possible, the wishes of the sponsor are considered. However, in all cases, the final location, species, size, and type of protection will be determined by BTP. This is in conjunction with the Council or the appropriate landowner.

To be satisfied with the quality of the trees, and the way they are planted, BTP and the Council normally provide, plant, and maintain the trees.

It’s possible for a sponsor to plant the tree with assistance and guidance from BTP, and often a dedication ceremony can be catered for, but the timing of such events is BTP’s decision.

Any young commemorative tree which fails in the first four years after the initial planting date, for horticultural reasons, will be replaced at BTP’s expense.

Charges for commemorative tree planting reflect all direct costs. This includes a provision for the future management of the tree.

Any dedication can be recorded on BTP’s website, and by a label on the tree. The design of all commemorative ware must be in accordance with the management policy for the chosen site.

We do not consider the installation of plaques. They are generally contrary to the management of public sites outside of designated bereavement areas.

The dedication of a memorial tree will not give the sponsor a right to determine or influence future management. The obligation falls upon BTP and the Council to ensure proper maintenance for many years. New staff must be aware of these trees and ensure that they always receive special care.

In Woodlands:

Woodlands are generally not the most appropriate places for commemorative trees. Individual trees can easily get lost in woods and copses, their growth may be suppressed, or possible removal in early stages to favour other trees. Natural regeneration rather than planting may often be the best way to sustain woodlands. Memorial trees are ideally planted in parks, open spaces, fields or hedgerows, not in woods.

Planting New Woods:

It’s rare for the Council to establish new woods. However, when they are planned, there may be a suitable opportunity for a commemorative donation, or a supervised public tree planting activity.

There is, in principle, no reason why the New Wood should not be named by the sponsor. However, all decisions affecting the design and future management of the wood will remain solely the responsibility of BTP/BCC.

Commemorative Recognition

A recognition page will be created on the website listing the trees that have been donated. Sponsors will have the chance to provide a photograph and text for inclusion on the “Where are our trees?page.

We no longer endorse the use of tree tags for environmental and practical reasons, therefore the use of plaques, tags, markers, etc. are not encouraged.

How Do We Manage Funds for Treemembrance?

The funds received in the Commemorative Treemembrance Programme are used to purchase trees. Not only to serve as a living reminder of the special people or occasions in our lives, but also maintain the trees, both new and existing. Sponsors can adopt an existing or plant a new tree.

Adopt a Tree

This option is the most readily available and the preferred form for commemorations. To “adopt” an existing tree, the sponsor must request a list of available trees. This includes the level of donation necessary for each tree. The more historic, regal, significant and long-lived the tree, the higher the level of donation required.

The cost of maintaining a tree is largely dependent on the longevity of the species. This also includes predisposition to limb damage and disease. This can make the donation level highly variable.

The tree remains until the tree dies, is removed as a hazard, or new regulations. In some cases, this could be as little as 5-10 years, and in others over 200 years.

If a tree is removed for construction (e.g. new buildings, sewer relocations, etc.) the sponsor will be informed. The care can be transferred to a comparable tree, providing one exists, in agreement with the sponsor.

Commemorative Tree Option

If a sponsor chooses to have a new tree planted, a formal request must be made to BTP. We will inform the sponsor if there is space available in the preferred location. BTP will find out if the Council intends to add a tree that could be designated as memorial within the desired time frame.

The BTP will choose the type of tree and the location of the planting site. This is because these two decisions must be made with any management plans in mind. However, if multiple trees are available, the sponsor can choose from the list provided by the BTP.

How Much Does It Cost?

As stated above, the adopt a tree option will depend on the tree chosen for the commemoration. As a guideline, adopting a large, mature specimen (eg. oak) in a highly trafficked area would cost around £2000, but to adopt a smaller, shorter-lived tree (eg. Mountain Ash), would be in the region of £300, which is the minimum cost for any commemoration.

The cost for any new commemorative trees will be £750[1]. This includes the tree purchase, planting, aftercare, and any associated ceremony. It also considers the replacement tree if it fails in the first four years (see above).

[1] Priced currently 2024.

When Can The Tree Be Planted?

Planting of any commemorative tree under the Treemembrance programme will normally take place in the next available planting season. This is usually November to January of each year. Any trees planted outside of this time frame will incur a higher charge. They will also not be replaced should they fail in the first four years.

What Species Can Be Planted?

A list of trees recommended for planting under the Treemembrance programme is contained as an appendix. Special requests for other types of species will be considered, but BTP has final approval. Every effort will be made to place the tree in the park of your choice.  If conditions warrant, BTP/BCC reserves the right to place the tree in the park best suited for the tree.

Please see below the Appendix for selecting your tree species, or click here to read about it on our website.

Treemembrance Application Form

Request forms are available to fill out below or by downloading here and emailing to us:

Treemembrance Request Form

Memorial and remembrance tree application or request form.

Full name of the sponsor.
Full address of the sponsor.
Please choose one of the following sponsorship options:
Tell us where you would like your tree to be planted:
A short description of the location within the park or open space:
The species of tree for selection, please choose three options from the Appendix A: Tree Species Selection, and write them here:
If you do not know what species to select, please choose between the two options, and we can do the rest:
This information will appear on your tree-tag and the website: please print legibly. Please choose one of the following three options:
The name of the person or event for treemembrance:
The dates of the event or person for treemembrance:
Please specify to whom and where you want the certificate and location map mailed after the tree is planted. Leave this section blank if it is the same as above.
Please specify to whom and where you want the certificate and location map mailed after the tree is planted. Leave this section blank if it is the same as above.
Upload extra documents if necessary. Is there anything else you’d like us to know?
Max. file size: 100 MB.