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Dog Grave Tree Memorial

Posts: 19
Location: Graham, WA
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Hello fellow Permies,

I have no idea which forum is correct for this question.

Sadly our beloved French Mastiff of 7yrs in soon to pass away. She has brain cancer. We are trying to make her as comfortable as possible before she goes.

I would like to memorialize her by burying her then planting a food bearing tree over the grave site.

She's a large dog 110lbs

My questions are:

How shall I prepare the grave? depths, amendments, size etc.
Will her body inhibit root growth until she is more decomposed?
If so what should I do to mitigate it.

Any suggestions for trees? I would like a large shade tree that bears fruit or nuts. I was thinking possibly walnut.

I imagine one day in the future my grand kids sitting at a picnic table in the shade under her tree and enjoying the fruits or nuts.

The area where I will be planting is fairly wet during most of the year so a water loving tree would be best.

She will be missed but never forgotten.

gardener & author
Posts: 2002
Location: Ladakh, Indian Himalayas at 10,500 feet, zone 5
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I think you should just do it. It's a lovely idea. If you're worried that the body is too big and too much organic matter for a young tree, then plant the tree near the body, not right over it. We buried a cat and planted a little cluster of three apricot trees over it, and they thrived. But that was only a cat. A 110 lb dog is almost human sized, so yes, you'd want to bury her pretty deep. Maybe some sawdust underneath and over the body would help with balancing the decomposition?
Posts: 323
Location: Pittsburgh PA
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Should be fine. Throw some compost in the grave to get things going faster. I once lived near a roadkill dumpsite, PLENTY of healthy plants and trees grew there.
Posts: 415
Location: Central Texas zone 8a, 800 chill hours 28 blessed inches of rain
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From one dog person to another, I am truly sorry for the sorrow you must feel in losing such a companion. That is never easy.

I have a few thoughts:

The wet area makes it tough for edibles. Most edible trees, fruts and nuts, like a well drained soil. Crab apple is one exception.

This is a link to King County's native plant site. I know you are in Piece but they should be similar enough. King County Natives One tree that comes back is the Pacific Crabapple: crabapple It has flowers in the spring, height for shade in the summer, and foliage color in the fall, plus some fruit. (not sure how tasty.)

Another suggestion is to plant some natives trees that love water in a grove and then plant your bearing tree on the sunny southern side of the grove to enjoy. Also there are some native edibles that like water, so they could be grown under a canopy to get the best of both, shade and treats. The website listed will allow you to search by all parameters seperately or filtered.

The memorial is a nice thing for your friend. I don't think that you have to go too deeply to worry about too much amendment. 3 feet should be enough for a small tree. The biologics will be well decomposed by the time the roots need to be that deep. I would think even a few inches below the root ball of whatever stock you plant should be enough. The tree/bush will have some time to acclimate before it starts reaching out in a serious way. By then nature and the microbes will have had time to do most of their work.

Peace be with you until you see your friend again.
Posts: 9002
Location: Victoria British Columbia-Canada
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Plums can grow in some pretty wet spots.
Posts: 3206
Location: Cincinnati, Ohio,Price Hill 45205
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I feel your grief I've only ever lost one dog to death. I never asked for that dog in fact I swore to myself I didn't like her.
I dug her grave myself and I cried the whole time.
I built a raised bed over Kias grave.
Don't plant tree directly on top of her. As her body decays the tree is liable to sink deeper into the soil.
Its already a wet spot so you're risking drowning the roots.
I would consider putting her below soil level next to the tree, putting the tree at soil level and then building a raised bed around the tree.
Maybe hazelnut would be good.

I would bury her with her favorite toys and blankets even if they are not exactly biodegradable or natural.

I hope this helps with your loss.
Posts: 308
Location: NE Slovenia, zone 6b
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Very sorry for your loss. I get tears in my eyes just thinking about our dog being gone one day.

Apart from plums, pears can also take wet soil. I hope your tree does really well and brings you happy memories.
See ya later boys, I think I'm in love. Oh wait, she's just a tiny ad:
Greenhouse of the Future ebook - now free for a while
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