Scattering Cremated Remains Benefits the Soil

As cremation rates increase and are expected to approach 70% of deaths annually, more people are choosing to scatter their remains at sites and locations meaningful to them.  As these “scattering garden” locations rise in popularity, some may begin to ask: “What is the effect of scattering human cremated remains on soil and plant life?”

Turns out, there is a very beneficial impact on soil and on plant life from depositing human cremated remains into soil and in the midst of gardens.  According to Rob Harrison, professor of Environmental and Forest Sciences at the University of Washington’s College of the Environment in Seattle, Washington, “The only thing better than depositing cremains into soil would be to return the whole body to the earth.”

“The application of cremains to acid soil will generally be beneficial, liming the soil to the pH level most conducive to plant growth.  The higher pH stimulates breakdown of organic matter already in the soil, while liberating the chemical nitrogen during the process.  This results in plant life growing better and stronger.”   

Scattering your ashes in a cultivated garden location contributes to nature’s circle of life.  Your remains improve the soil and provide a benefit to plant life, which in turn improves the environment for all humankind.   Professor Harrison even chimed in on his own personal wishes: “I think the idea of returning those nutrients to the soil from which we sprang in the first place is a great idea. That is what I would like to have done with my remains and nutrients eventually. The nutrients can help form new plant life, which can support other life, and so on. Some of the elements of my life would remain and cycle there where they are placed; and some would eventually cycle throughout the earth.”


Source:  ETERNITY GARDENS LLC.  Darrell W. Hill,

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Scattering Cremated Remains Benefits the Soil