Nine gifts for the literal tree hugger in your life

This year, be the giving tree.

forest
Treet yourself.Lukasz Szmigiel vis Unsplash

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.

Tree guide

The Architecture of Trees

The Architecture of Trees

By Cesare LeonardiAmazon

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 shovel

Fiskars Long Handled Shovel Steel Round Point

Fiskars Long Handled Shovel Steel Round Point

Lifetime guarantee.Amazon

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.

Adopt a tree

Adopt a tree

Adopt a tree

A growing gift.Matthew Smith via Unsplash

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

The Hidden Life of Trees

The Hidden Life of Trees

Learn about the complex life of trees.Amazon

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 kit

A bonsai

A bonsai

Patience required.Amazon

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!)

Sci-fi novel

The Overstory: A Novel

The Overstory: A Novel

by Richard Powers.Amazon

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 Times wrote, “humans are merely underbrush; the real protagonists are trees.”

Fertilizer pods

EarthPods Premium Fiddle Leaf Fig & Ficus Plant Food

EarthPods Premium Fiddle Leaf Fig & Ficus Plant Food

Custom blend plant fertilizerAmazon

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.

Naturalist app

man holding a phone in the forest

Nature apps

Plant identification in app form.Drew Hays via Unsplash

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.

Ring print

Uinta National Forest Tree Ring Print

Uinta National Forest Tree Ring Print

18 x24-inch nature print.Amazon

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.