Hymns for Arbor / Arbour Day

This is a selection of hymns that are suitable for Arbour Day church-services or other observances.  They are chosen because they celebrate or discuss trees and their importance.

It is in two sections:  the first part has hymns and religious songs which are now in the public domain, so can be freely used with no concerns about copyright. 

The second section includes hymns that are or may still be copyright, but which are particularly appropriate.

About Arbor Day

Arbor Day is a day when people are encouraged to plant trees. It is usually held in the spring-time, but this depends on the local climate and ie when it is the best planting season - which is why there is not one date for Arbour Day worldwide.   In the USA, Arbor Day is celebrated every year on the last Friday in April, and it is it is a civic holiday in Nebraska. .

It is a secular (ie non-religious) event, organised in most countries by a charity or non-governmental-organisation (NGO). However many religious groups participate in Arbour Day events, in both practical (ie tree-planting) and spiritual (prayer based) ways, as a part of caring for the environment.  Some people see trees as important because Jesus' cross was made of wood.

The first documented arbor plantation festival was in Spain in 1594 when a local priest who was "convinced of the importance of trees for health, hygiene, decoration, nature, environment and custom" decided to accompany tree-planting with a festival.

The first American Arbor Day event was held in in Nebraska City in 1872, when an estimated one million trees were planted in Nebraska.

The idea was spread further by Birdsey Northrop of Connecticut, who visited Japan in 1883 and shared an his Arbor Day and Village Improvement message.

Many other countries have started observing Arbour Day since then.

Free-use hymns

All Things Bright and Beautiful

Cherry Tree Carol - various

Faithful Cross the Saints Rely On

For the Beauty of the Earth

Good Joseph had a Garden

He’s got the Whole World in his Hand (with verse "He’s got the trees and forests in his hand’)

Jesus Christ, the Apple Tree - Hutchins

Joyful Joyful we Adore Thee

O Cross of Christ Immortal Tree

Trees - Kilmer

The Linden Tree - Fessended

We Plow the Fields and Scatter

Hymns which may still be copyright

A Flowing River and a Tree - Lee

As the Wind Song through the Trees - Murray

Canticle of the Sun - Haugen

Every Bird Every Tree - Watcyn-Jones

How Great Thou Art - Hine

I Saw the Grass, I Saw the Trees - White

Jesus is Lord, Creation’s Voice Proclaims It - Mansell

O God when Your Land - Gillette  (ref)

Seed Scattered and Sown - Feiten

Song of the Mustard Seed - Hopson

The Earth is the Lord’s and the Fullness Thereof - Gillette

The Trees of the Field - Dauermann

Think of a World without any Flowers - Newport

Tree of Life - Haugen

When I Look at the Trees - Jarvis

Who put the Colours in the Rainbow - Booth

Wood Hath Hope - Foley

See more

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