top of page

Celebration and Memorial Trees

Commemorate the life of someone special with a tree dedication. The Arboretum’s collection of trees has served as a source of natural beauty and inspiration for decades. A donation of $500 will provide for the dedication of a tree from our existing collections or a new tree and ensure the Arboretum’s continued growth for future generations. New trees can also be dedicated as a memorial, depending on planting schedule.Your tree dedication includes a personalized recognition plaque for the natural life of the tree. For assistance in selecting a tree, please call the ZooMontana office at (406) 652-8100.

Dedicated Trees

Planting trees in honor of loved ones who may have passed has been a rich tradition at ZooMontana and the Yellowstone Arboretum. The staff of the Arboretum is pleased to work with individuals interested in giving a dedicated tree to continue this tradition. This information may be helpful in your consideration and planning:

  • A $500 minimum donation to the Arboretum is requested to establish a dedicated tree. This covers the cost of acquiring the tree, planting it, labeling it, and provides funds for future maintenance expenses.

  • Trees and locations are to be selected from the Arboretum’s wish list to insure that sites are free from utilities, safe for our visitors and that desirable species are selected. See our suggested list below.

  • Your donation will be acknowledged by receipt from ZooMontana for tax purposes. Donations for dedicated trees are deductible as allowed by law.

  • Dedicated trees are identified with black engraved labels which convey the tree’s scientific and common names. Text of your choosing may be up to 4 lines, 45 characters per line (including spaces). Larger more personalized memorial signage is available. Contact the ZooMontana office for more information.

  • Trees acquired for dedication are typically 5- 10 feet tall; size will depend on the type of tree selected and its availability.

  • If a dedicated tree dies within 2 years of being planted, it will be replaced with no additional donation. Efforts will be made to replace it in kind; however, if that type of tree is unavailable, a substitution will be made. After 2 years, if a dedicated tree dies, an additional donation will be requested to replace the tree. Dedications are for the life of the tree.

  • Some species are best planted only in the spring. The planting of dedicated trees will be planned based on the best planting time. To arrange a planting please contact the Zoo or arboretum staff. We recommend that trees are not planted in the summer months from June 15 through September 15. Fall and Spring are the ideal times for the planting health of the tree.

  • The arboretum reserves the right to transplant or, if necessary, remove dedicated trees if required for future building efforts. The Arboretum or Zoo staff will attempt to contact you to inform you about necessary changes.

  • There are opportunities for more substantial giving to the Arboretum. Please contact the ZooMontana director if you’re interested in larger garden projects and naming opportunities.

  • Dedicated trees are acknowledged in the year given in our annual report.

  • Dedication information is maintained and accessible to the public in our plant records system that can be found on the Yellowstone Arboretum website.

Suggested Selections

The arboretum has compiled a list of trees that would best enhance the present collection and work great as a dedicated tree. Of course, your personal selection is the most important and the arboretum staff will work with you to make the best choice.



Hawthornes are noted for their attractive flowers and foliage, bright red fruits and fall color. It is a small, low-branching, deciduous tree that typically grows 25-30’ tall with a rounded crown. Thorny stems are clad with shallowly lobed, serrate, glossy dark green leaves (to 2 1/2” long). Leaves turn attractive shades of orange and red in fall. Fragrant, 5-petaled, white flowers in clusters (corymbs) bloom in late spring. Flowers are followed in fall by bright red 1/4” diameter globose fruits (pomes) that persist throughout the winter. The fruit is sometimes called a haw. The word haw also means hedge, the hawthorn thus being a thorny hedge. Washington hawthorn (most popular) are native from Virginia to Missouri, Arkansas and Alabama. The Black Hawthorn is native to Montana.

Engelmann Spruce

Picea engelmannii, with common names Engelmann spruce, white spruce, mountain spruce, or silver spruce, is a species of spruce native to western North America, from central British Columbia and southwest Alberta, southwest to northern California and southeast to Arizona and New Mexico; there are also two isolated populations in northern Mexico. It is mostly a high altitude mountain tree, growing at 900 metres (3,000 ft) – 3,650 metres (11,980 ft) altitude, rarely lower in the northwest of the range; in many areas it reaches the alpine tree line. The Engelmann Spruce is native to both Yellowstone Park and the Big Horn Mountains of northern Wyoming.


Conifer Collection

The Yellowstone Arboretum is home to a unique and growing collection of conifer trees. We also have several opportunities for planting locations that best suits particular species. Bear Meadows offers a dedicated area for conifer memorial trees. There are no restrictions for this area and currently is home to Limber Pines, Austrian Pines, Colorado Spruce and Meyer Spruce. Second is the MNLA North American Conifer garden. This new area will showcase trees found in North America especially in our Montana Rocky Mountains. And finally is the Beartooth Pinetum. This garden within a garden consists of dwarf and intermediate conifers from around the world and is unique in it's small stature.

Mountain Ash

The American or European Mountain Ash is a delightful little tree — whether in a yard, a park, or a forest setting. The showy spring flowers, vibrant clusters of berries, and amazing fall color make it a great landscape choice for the colder regions. And bird enthusiasts flock to this tree, as the berries attract many different birds.

Boasts great fall color with orange and purple

Displays showy white spring flowers

Produces small red berries that are popular with wildlife


Cherry Tree or other Fruit Trees

The cherry (also referred to as the Japanese flowering cherry) is the darling of the flowering tree world and the star of such renowned events as the National and International Cherry Blossom Festivals. This stand-out tree is, of course, known for its vibrant display of white-pink blossoms and faint almond fragrance in the springtime. In the summer, this tree will be a highlight in the yard with its beautiful branching pattern, glossy bark and dark green leaves. We also recommend fruit trees in general for their spring color and their contribution to pollinators and bird habitats and can be planted throughout the arboretum.

Scots Pine

The Scots pine is a beautiful evergreen that is hardy and adaptable to nearly all climates. It can be used as either a windbreak or a single specimen. This tree is also a popular Christmas tree choice because of its form and ability to hold onto its needles for an extended period. Because of its reseeding capabilities, the Scots pine is often used for reclamation sites.

Adapts to nearly all climates

Provides excellent windbreak

Features pyramidal form and excellent needle retention


CLICK HERE for the arboretum's Adopt-a-Tree Program

bottom of page