Nine gifts for the literal tree hugger in your life
This year, be the giving tree.
December 5, 2019
Trees are magnificent beings. They produce oxygen for humans to breathe, sequester carbon dioxide, and provide shade for many species, including birds, rodents, and humans.
If you have a tree lover in your life, you’ve probably heard all these facts before. Return the favor any time of year with these evergreen gifts.
Since 1983, designers Cesare Leonardi and Franca Stagi’s “botanical masterwork” has been a keystone in the library of any landscape architect. But anyone can appreciate the massive compendium of more than 550 intricate, hand-drawn illustrations of trees. Each member of this black-and-white forest appears at 1:100 scale, with and without their leaves. Best of all, this book comes with an equally large bookmark.
Planting trees is hard work, but a durable spade makes it easier. Fiskars (yes, the scissor company) makes this rounded-point steel shovel that’s popular with arborists. Among its many comfort features, it has a long handle to keep you upright and an extra-wide platform for your foot.
Many public parks departments sell sponsorships for local tree. Prices can be steep—typically, you’re paying both for the installment of the tree and its upkeep over a decades-long life—but it’s a great way to commemorate a loved one.
Natural history book
In his bestselling book, The Hidden Life of Trees, German forester Peter Wohlleben writes from the perspective of the forest itself. He offers many lessons, but perhaps his most impactful scenes are those describing how individual trees communicate with and care for their neighbors. You can also get this book illustrated.
Bonsai is a difficult practice that requires commitment over decades. Practitioners take regular trees—like a redwood with the potential to grow 350 feet tall, or a cypress capable of expanding 30 feet wide—and carefully cultivate it in miniature. While many people grow their bonsai from cuttings, beginners can purchase an older tree online. (Don’t forget these ultra-powerful scissors for pruning!)
Richard Powers won the 2019 Pulitzer Prize for his book The Overstory, which tells the interwoven story of nine Americans who come together to stop deforestation. In this “magisterial novel,” the New York Timeswrote, “humans are merely underbrush; the real protagonists are trees.”
Whether it’s a fiddle leaf fig or a cactus, if you’re growing indoor plants, you need the right fertilizer. EarthPods sells clean, odorless capsules with the exact right blend for your species. The product has rave reviews from customers who say their dormant plants began growing again within a week of fertilization.
Avoiding traditional gifts this year? Recommend your tree-loving friend the iNaturalist app instead. It allows smartphone users to generate plant identifications based on a simple photo. Best of all, researchers can use your data in scientific studies, making every plant ID a potential act of citizen science.
Tree rings document the age of a tree—and make for a beautiful work of art. This particular print is made from a tree felled by beetles in the Uinta National Forest in northern Utah. But you can find similar prints from different places or different trees.