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Est. 1998


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Quotations about Trees

Related Quotes      Redwoods      Environment      Nature      Arbor Day

Welcome to my page of quotations about trees, man’s brethren in nature as they are called. I’ve no idea why “advocates for the preservation of woodlands” (a.k.a. tree huggers) are generally held in negative regard in our society, but I suppose you could consider me one. I’ve been collecting these quotes since the 1980s, and I sincerely hope that you enjoy them. Unite, forest lovers! —tεᖇᖇ¡·g

How dear the woods are! You beautiful trees! I love every one of you as a friend. ~Lucy Maud Montgomery, Anne of Avonlea, 1909

Well, one can't get over the habit of being a little girl all at once.... I'm sure I'll always feel like a child in the woods. These walks home from school are almost the only time I have for dreaming.... [H]ere in the woods I like best to imagine quite different things…I'm a dryad living in an old pine, or a little brown wood-elf hiding under a crinkled leaf. That white birch you caught me kissing is a sister of mine. The only difference is, she's a tree and I'm a girl, but that's no real difference. ~Lucy Maud Montgomery, Anne of Avonlea, 1909

If a man walks in the woods for love of them half of each day, he is in danger of being regarded as a loafer. But if he spends his days as a speculator, shearing off those woods and making the earth bald before her time, he is deemed an industrious and enterprising citizen. ~Henry David Thoreau

You can live for years next door to a big pine tree, honored to have so venerable a neighbor, even when it sheds needles all over your flowers or wakes you, dropping big cones onto your deck at still of night. ~Denise Levertov

I frequently tramped eight or ten miles through the deepest snow to keep an appointment with a beech-tree, or a yellow birch, or an old acquaintance among the pines. ~Henry David Thoreau

It has been said that trees are imperfect men, and seem to bemoan their imprisonment rooted in the ground. But they never seem so to me. I never saw a discontented tree. They grip the ground as though they liked it, and though fast rooted they travel about as far as we do. They go wandering forth in all directions with every wind, going and coming like ourselves, traveling with us around the sun two million miles a day, and through space heaven knows how fast and far! ~John Muir, July 1890

Every string of nature's breezy harp is touched to answer thy sighs. The green oak and cedar—the dark pine, the yellow and silvery-barked willow—each majestic old tree; hath its own peculiar tone and whisper for thine ear. ~Elizabeth J. Eames, "An Autumn Reverie," October 1840

The trees are God’s great alphabet:
With them He writes in shining green
Across the world His thoughts serene.
~Leonora Speyer

I like trees because they seem more resigned to the way they have to live than other things do. ~Willa Cather, 1913

Who leaves the pine-tree, leaves his friend,
Unnerves his strength, invites his end.
~Ralph Waldo Emerson, “Woodnotes”

Of all the wonders of nature, a tree in summer is perhaps the most remarkable; with the possible exception of a moose singing “Embraceable You” in spats. ~Woody Allen

If trees could scream, would we be so cavalier about cutting them down? We might, if they screamed all the time, for no good reason. ~Jack Handey

I think that I shall never see
A billboard lovely as a tree.
Indeed, unless the billboards fall
I’ll never see a tree at all.
~Ogden Nash, “Song of the Open Road,” c.1932  [the opening lines being a take on Joyce Kilmer’s “Trees,” quoted below on this page —tεᖇᖇ¡·g]

The groves were God’s first temples. ~William Cullen Bryant, “A Forest Hymn”

Trees are your best antiques. ~Alexander Smith

Clouds at noon occupying about half the sky gave half an hour of heavy rain to wash one of the cleanest landscapes in the world. How well it is washed!... How fresh the woods are and calm after the last films of clouds have been wiped from the sky! A few minutes ago every tree was excited, bowing to the roaring storm, waving, swirling, tossing their branches in glorious enthusiasm like worship. But though to the outer ear these trees are now silent, their songs never cease. Every hidden cell is throbbing with music and life, every fibre thrilling like harp strings, while incense is ever flowing from the balsam bells and leaves. No wonder the hills and groves were God’s first temples, and the more they are cut down and hewn into cathedrals and churches, the farther off and dimmer seems the Lord himself. ~John Muir, 1869 July 24th

A seed hidden in the heart of an apple is an orchard invisible. ~Welsh Proverb

For in the true nature of things, if we rightly consider, every green tree is far more glorious than if it were made of gold and silver. ~Martin Luther

There is always Music amongst the trees in the Garden, but our hearts must be very quiet to hear it. ~Minnie Aumonier

It is difficult to realize how great a part of all that is cheerful and delightful in the recollections of our own life is associated with trees. ~Wilson Flagg

And this, our life, exempt from public haunt, finds tongues in trees, books in the running brooks, sermons in stones, and good in everything. ~William Shakespeare

We all travel the milky way together, trees and men; but it never occurred to me until this storm-day, while swinging in the wind, that trees are travelers, in the ordinary sense. They make many journeys, not very extensive ones, it is true; but our own little comes and goes are only little more than tree-wavings—many of them not so much. ~John Muir, "A Wind Storm in the Forests of the Yuba," Scribner's Monthly, November 1878

The tree is more than first a seed, then a stem, then a living trunk, and then dead timber. The tree is a slow, enduring force straining to win the sky. ~Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, The Wisdom of the Sands, translated from French by Stuart Gilbert

Alone with myself
The trees bend to caress me
The shade hugs my heart.
~Candy Polgar

Us sing and dance, make faces and give flower bouquets, trying to be loved. You ever notice that trees do everything to git attention we do, except walk? ~Alice Walker, The Color Purple, 1982

It is not so much for its beauty that the forest makes a claim upon men’s hearts, as for that subtle something, that quality of air that emanation from old trees, that so wonderfully changes and renews a weary spirit. ~Robert Louis Stevenson

He who plants a tree
Plants a hope.
~Lucy Larcom, “Plant a Tree”

Except during the nine months before he draws his first breath, no man manages his affairs as well as a tree does. ~George Bernard Shaw, Maxims for Revolutionists, 1903

Rest is not idleness, and to lie sometimes on the grass under the trees on a summer’s day, listening to the murmur of water, or watching the clouds float across the blue sky, is by no means waste of time. ~John Lubbock, “Recreation,” The Use of Life, 1894

Trees are poems that earth writes upon the sky,
We fell them down and turn them into paper,
That we may record our emptiness.
~Khalil Gibran

To the great tree-loving fraternity we belong. We love trees with universal and unfeigned love, and all things that do grow under them or around them — the whole leaf and root tribe. ~Henry Ward Beecher

The trees that have it in their pent-up buds
To darken nature and be summer woods -
~Robert Frost

The best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago. The next best time is now. ~Chinese Proverb

I willingly confess to so great a partiality for trees as tempts me to respect a man in exact proportion to his respect for them. ~James Russell Lowell

Sit still with me in the shade of these green trees, which have no weightier thought than the withering of their leaves when autumn arrives, or the stretching of their many stiff fingers into the cold sky of the passing winter. ~Fernando Pessoa

The true meaning of life is to plant trees, under whose shade you do not expect to sit. ~Nelson Henderson

You see the tree that sweeps my window-pane?
      All the long winter-time it moans and grieves;
      In the bleak nights I hear its boughs complain,
      Praying for gracious sunshine and warm rain,
      And its withheld inheritance of leaves.
But what avails it? Though the sad tree wears
      Its heart out with its grief, what shall it gain?
      Do you believe the tardy summer cares
      For all its wild rebukes and passionate prayers,
      Or that the sun shines warmer for its pain?
~Elizabeth Chase Akers Allen (1832–1911), "Time," c.1866

No town can fail of beauty, though its walks were gutters and its houses hovels, if venerable trees make magnificent colonnades along its streets. ~Henry Ward Beecher, Proverbs, 1887

Suburbia is where the developer bulldozes out the trees, then names the streets after them. ~Bill Vaughn

If I knew I should die tomorrow, I would plant a tree today. ~Stephen Girard

Trees are the earth’s endless effort to speak to the listening heaven. ~Rabindranath Tagore, Fireflies, 1928

The tree which moves some to tears of joy is in the eyes of others only a green thing which stands in their way. ~William Blake

Trees outstrip most people in the extent and depth of their work for the public good. ~Sara Ebenreck, American Forests

Why are there trees I never walk under
But large and melodious thoughts descend upon me?
~Walt Whitman, Leaves of Grass, 1892

The oaks and the pines, and their brethren of the wood, have seen so many suns rise and set, so many seasons come and go, and so many generations pass into silence, that we may well wonder what “the story of the trees” would be to us if they had tongues to tell it, or we ears fine enough to understand. ~Author unknown, quoted in Quotations for Special Occasions by Maud van Buren, 1938

They paved paradise
And put up a parking lot
They took all the trees
Put ’em in a tree museum
And they charged the people
A dollar and a half just to see ’em
Don’t it always seem to go
That you don’t know what you’ve got
’Til it’s gone...
~Joni Mitchell, from “Big Yellow Taxi,” lyrics written circa 1967–68, © Siquomb Publishing Company

There are rich counsels in the trees. ~Herbert P. Horne

God in the whizzing of a pleasant wind
Shall march upon the tops of mulberry trees.
~George Peele, David and Fair Bathsabe, 1599

Let’s take our hearts for a walk in the woods and listen to the magic whispers of old trees. ~Author Unknown

The trees are whispering to me, reminding me of my roots, and my reach... shhhhhh... can you hear them? Selflessly sharing their subtle song. ~Jeb Dickerson, www.howtomatter.com

The best part of happiness is the pines. ~Terri Guillemets

Only when the last tree has died and the last river been poisoned and the last fish been caught will we realise we cannot eat money. ~Cree Proverb

To heal mine aching moods,
Give me God’s virgin woods.
~Clinton Scollard

Many people, other than the authors, contribute to the making of a book, from the first person who had the bright idea of alphabetic writing through the inventor of movable type to the lumberjacks who felled the trees that were pulped for its printing. It is not customary to acknowledge the trees themselves, though their commitment is total. ~Forsyth and Rada, Machine Learning

In the storm, like a prophet o’ermaddened,
Thou singest and tossest thy branches;
Thy heart with the terror is gladdened,
Thou forebodest the dread avalanches....
In the calm thou o’erstretchest the valleys
With thine arms, as if blessings imploring,
Like an old king led forth from his palace,
When his people to battle are pouring...
~James Russell Lowell, “To A Pine-Tree”

Between every two pine trees there is a door leading to a new way of life. ~John Muir  [For quite some time I wasn’t sure if this was an actual Muir quotation, but fortunately Dan Styer has worked hard to track it down. Read about it here: oberlin.edu/physics/dstyer/Muir/QuotableJohnMuir.html. Thanks, Dan! —tεᖇᖇ¡·g]

But these trees are derelicts—throwing out a wisp of foliage here and there, a truce to death, with each returning spring. ~Julia Ellen Rogers, “The Big Tree and the Redwood,” The Tree Book: A Popular Guide to a Knowledge of the Trees of North America and to their Uses and Cultivation, 1905

If you would know strength and patience, welcome the company of trees. ~Hal Borland

Trees are love
Trees are life
Long-standing hearts of Nature
Absorbers of human strife.
~Terri Guillemets

It is well that you should celebrate your Arbor Day thoughtfully, for within your lifetime the nation’s need of trees will become serious. We of an older generation can get along with what we have, though with growing hardship; but in your full manhood and womanhood you will want what nature once so bountifully supplied and man so thoughtlessly destroyed; and because of that want you will reproach us, not for what we have used, but for what we have wasted. ~Theodore Roosevelt, 1907 Arbor Day Message

Oaks are the true conservatives;
They hold old leaves till summer gives
A green exchange.
~Roy Helton, Come Back to Earth

A tree never hits an automobile except in self defense. ~American Proverb

...Long, sparkling aisles of steel-stemmed trees
Bending to counterfeit a breeze...
~James Russell Lowell

The bark of the banished trees is clawed and scratched by furry apple-thieves, and the boughs bent and broken so that they fall about your shoulders if you stand under them. Apple-trees like to cuddle, and it must soothe their loneliness to have a woman’s hand touch their torn and wounded skin, and a woman’s eyes look up into their green souls. ~Margaret Troili, “Woods of Mendocino,” Out West: A Magazine of the Old Pacific and the New, June 1908

[T]he bees will buzz you a welcome from the hives at the end, and then the trees will stoop down about you, and you can look up into a green sky set with constellations of apples. ~Margaret Troili, “Woods of Mendocino,” Out West: A Magazine of the Old Pacific and the New, June 1908

Trees are much like human beings and enjoy each other’s company. Only a few love to be alone. ~Jens Jensen, Siftings, 1939

Exhalation of moss, mycelium, black mould; wafted savor of a thousand earthly growths, damp, clinging, redolent; aroma of mighty roots, of invisible spawn and seed—all the vast stirring of the earth’s desire. ~Virginia Garland, “The Rain,” Out West: A Magazine of the Old Pacific and the New, February 1908

Newspapers: dead trees with information smeared on them. ~Horizon, “Electronic Frontier”

As the spring comes on, and the densening outlines of the elm give daily a new design for a Grecian urn, — its hue, first brown with blossoms, then emerald with leaves, — we appreciate the vanishing beauty of the bare boughs. In our favored temperate zone, the trees denude themselves each year, like the goddesses before Paris, that we may see which unadorned loveliness is the fairest. ~Thomas Wentworth Higginson, "April Days," 1861

They kill good trees to put out bad newspapers. ~James G. Watt, quoted in Newsweek, 1982 March 8th

The ancient tea mountains bathed in the setting sunshine.
The old tea trees stretching out their ancient branches
As if turning their nose to the human world and recalling antiquity.
~Yang Jiang Ming

Only yonder magnificent pine-tree... holds her unchanging beauty throughout the year, like her half-brother, the ocean, whose voice she shares; and only marks the flowing of her annual tide of life by the new verdure that yearly submerges all trace of last year's ebb. ~Thomas Wentworth Higginson, "April Days," 1861

Every creature is better alive than dead, men and moose and pine trees, and he who understands it aright will rather preserve its life than destroy it. ~Henry David Thoreau, “Chesuncook,” The Maine Woods, 1848

A tree which has lost its head will never recover it again, and will survive only as a monument of the ignorance and folly of its Tormentor. ~George William Curtis

Look at the trees, look at the birds, look at the clouds, look at the stars... and if you have eyes you will be able to see that the whole existence is joyful. Everything is simply happy. Trees are happy for no reason; they are not going to become prime ministers or presidents and they are not going to become rich and they will never have any bank balance. Look at the flowers — for no reason. It is simply unbelievable how happy flowers are. ~Osho

I hear the wind among the trees
Playing the celestial symphonies;
I see the branches downward bent,
Like keys of some great instrument.
~Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

Will urban sprawl spread so far that most people lose all touch with nature? Will the day come when the only bird a typical American child ever sees is a canary in a pet shop window? When the only wild animal he knows is a rat — glimpsed on a night drive through some city slum? When the only tree he touches is the cleverly fabricated plastic evergreen that shades his gifts on Christmas morning? ~Frank N. Ikard, North American Wildlife and Natural Resources Conference, Houston, March 1968

Maybe trees don't like to be hugged. ~Author Unknown

You can’t be suspicious of a tree, or accuse a bird or a squirrel of subversion or challenge the ideology of a violet. ~Hal Borland, Sundial of the Seasons, 1964

The beauty of the forest is extraordinary — but ‘beauty’ is too simple a word, for being here is not just an aesthetic experience, but one steeped with mystery, with awe.... My father once told me that the very word ‘paradise’ meant garden.... But gardens, Eden or Kew, are not the right metaphors here, for the primeval has nothing to do with the human, but has to do with the ancient, the aboriginal, the beginning of all things. The primeval, the sublime, are much better words here — for they indicate realms remote from the moral or the human, realms which force us to gaze into immense vistas of space and time, where the beginnings and originations of all things lie hidden. Now, as I wandered in the cycad forest on Rota, it seemed as if my senses were actually enlarging, as if a new sense, a time sense, was opening within me, something which might allow me to appreciate millennia or aeons as directly as I had experienced seconds or minutes.... Standing here in the jungle, I feel part of a larger, calmer identity; I feel a profound sense of being at home, a sort of companionship with the earth. ~Oliver Sacks, The Island of the Colour-blind and Cycad Island, 1996  (Thanks, Dan!)

Plants are the young of the world, vessels of health and vigor; but they grope ever upward towards consciousness; the trees are imperfect men, and seem to bemoan their imprisonment, rooted in the ground. ~Ralph Waldo Emerson

A bare tree stands
with roots on both ends
in December days.
~Kiran Bantawa, "Bare Trees"

I always feel at home where the sugar maple grows.... glorious in autumn, a fountain of coolness in summer, sugar in its veins, gold in its foliage, warmth in its fibers, and health in it the year round. ~John Burroughs

I think that I shall never see
A poem lovely as a tree.
A tree whose hungry mouth is prest
Against the earth’s sweet flowing breast;
A tree that looks at God all day
And lifts her leafy arms to pray;
A tree that may in Summer wear
A nest of robins in her hair;
Upon whose bosom snow has lain;
Who intimately lives with rain.
Poems are made by fools like me,
But only God can make a tree.
~Joyce Kilmer, “Trees,” 1914

Climb a tree — it gets you closer to heaven. ~Anonymous

We say we love flowers, yet we pluck them. We say we love trees, yet we cut them down. And people still wonder why some are afraid when told they are loved. ~Author Unknown

Save a tree. Eat a beaver. ~Author Unknown

Bread and butter, devoid of charm in the drawing-room, is ambrosia eating under a tree. ~Elizabeth Russell

Breeze is the conductor,
trees the musicians,
leaves the instruments.
~Terri Guillemets

As the poet said, “only God can make a tree” — probably because it’s so hard to figure out how to get the bark on. ~Woody Allen

Thanks to Michael P. Garofalo of The Spirit of Gardening
for sharing a few of these wonderful quotes with me!

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Last modified 2015 Oct 30 Fri 13:55 PDT

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