Thoughts For Thursday: Cemetery Trees

This Thoughts for Thursday was inspired by a Facebook post by I think Headstone Haven a while back, which included an article about a centuries-old tree that was going to be cut down to save a headstone. Sorry, I don’t have the link to the article. I do have some pictures of my own though that illustrate the issue of trees causing damage to cemeteries and headstones.

An overview of the front half.

In this picture you can see how tree roots have helped cause very uneven ground and likely helped to knock over and break the stone and base in the foreground.

End of Ohio 479 (800x600)

You can clearly see that there are striations on this stone, likely a base, which has been nearly covered by a (very large) tree.

So in the ever-growing “battle” of trees vs. cemeteries, many of the trees are just as old as the cemeteries (or older), who do you think should win, the tree? The headstone? Something I’m forgetting?

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5 Responses to Thoughts For Thursday: Cemetery Trees

  1. Erik says:

    I’m guessing someone wanted to be buried by a certain tree without realizing that tree would probably grow roots around them and ravage their headstone and coffin (creepy to think about).

    I can’t declare a winner, but I think I’ll get cremated now.

    • I definitely think in some instances that that was the case. Other times, memorial trees are planted over burials after the fact (now not so much…green cemeteries aside). During the rural cemetery movement, when new cemeteries were landscaped with plantings and curvy roads, I’m sure the thought wasn’t even given to all of those tiny-at-the-time trees that would grow both above and below the ground. 150 years ago, these now huge trees, seemed far enough away.

      I’m not sure if there is a winner, myself.

  2. kbeck8261 says:

    I think that for the future – for “green” cemeteries – the tree will become the monument. For the past…I feel the loss of the stone. I know from helping people with genealogy that often where there are no paper records or they have been lost, the stone is a great source of information. There often isn’t enough room in a cemetery plot to plant a tree the proper distance from the stone for its eventual growth. I wonder if cemeteries would even allow a tree planting anymore.

    • I honestly don’t think that many traditional cemeteries allow tree planting, even if only for the fact that they create a maintenance issue almost immediately. I do think we’ll be hearing about this issue more frequently as the trees planted at heavily landscaped cemeteries begin to grow over/around more and more stones.

      Since you brought it up, how do you think trees as monuments will impact genealogy as they might not have an accompanying plaque to talk about the deceased, and if they do, there is no guarantee that the trees will last any longer than stones do.

  3. Pingback: Shouldn’t Miss News of the Week | Preservation and Place

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