For singers and songwriters, trees can convey many emotions and themes important to their music. Trees often symbolize life, growth, and renewal, which can be major themes for musicians.
There are countless songs about trees written and performed by singers of all genres. Whether you’re into jazz, classic rock, or rap, there’s a song about trees perfect for your mood. So, let’s go through the best songs about trees and explain their meanings!
Top Iist of 25 Songs About Trees
“A Forest” By The Cure
“A Forest” by The Cure is a 1980 alternative rock song that displays its unique sound. The song focuses on being lost in a forest, surrounded by trees. The Cure’s lead singer, Robert Smith, also said the song was inspired by getting lost in a forest as a boy.
The song focuses on the futility of looking for a way out of the forest. The Cure wanted to use the symbolism of a forest to compare it to the futility many people feel in their lives. Ultimately, the song ends without the singer finding what he was looking for, trapped alone in the forest.
“Coconut Tree” By Kenny Chesney and Willie Nelson
If you’re in the mood for a feel-good song about the joys of beach living, “Coconut Tree” is for you! Kenny Chesney and Willie Nelson combine to add both of their unique styles to this song that is sure to make you miss the beach.
The song focuses on the serenity of life on the beach. The singers tell us about their lives with their loves and how they can enjoy their simple life. They talk about how the world looks different when they’re at the top of the coconut tree, looking down without a worry in the world.
“Lemon Tree” By Trini Lopez
“Lemon Tree” by Trini Lopez is often mistaken for a Beatles song because of its similar sound. Instead, Lopez added his style to the song, giving it a flair some Beatles songs lack. “Lemon Tree” is ultimately about lost love.
Lopez sings about how love is a lot like lemon trees. Lemon trees provide something beautiful to look at, but all too often, they hurt you because of their sour taste. Lopez compares that to the loss he felt when his lover left him.
“Little Willow” By Paul McCartney
Written in 1995, “Little Willow” is a tribute to Paul McCartney’s Beatles bandmate Ringo Starr’s first wife, Maureen Cox. She passed away in 1994 due to cancer. The song is a beautiful ballad about love, death, and remembrance.
Anyone listening can hear the despair and loss present in McCartney’s voice. He likely chose the willow to symbolize the loss felt by Ringo and the other bandmates. Willows often symbolize loss because of their downward-facing nature.
“Strange Fruit” By Billie Holiday
“Strange Fruit” is a 1939 classic that flies under many people’s radar. In all honesty, it’s one of the most poignant songs ever produced. The song’s writer, Abel Meeropol, filled the song with symbolism about the position of African-Americans at the height of racism in America.
Billie Holiday delivers a beautiful rendition of the song. She sings about the poplar trees in the South, where “strange fruit” are hanging from the branches. Horrifically, the strange fruit symbolizes lynching victims.
These days, the song is more recognizable for its use in Kanye West’s “Blood On the Leaves.” He samples the lyrics, using them in a distorted manner to produce the chorus.
“Money Trees” By Kendrick Lamar and Jay Rock
Although not about real trees, “Money Trees” by Kendrick Lamar and Jay Rock does symbolize the nature of money and how it impacts people’s lives. Kendrick feels that money provides for a life that is free from many of the worries people less affluent face.
Kendrick raps about how people have dreams about living like “rappers live.” He adds that sometimes this pursuit of wealth leads people to do evil things so they have the chance to sit under the “shade of the money tree.” The money tree represents the ability to live without the worry of poverty.
“July Tree” By Nina Simone
“July Tree” is a 1965 classic by Nina Simone. She sings about love and how, like a tree, it blooms when the right conditions come about. Simone sings about how the changing seasons affect the growth of a tree.
But by July, when the conditions are perfect, the tree blooms. She compares this to love, which “blooms for the whole world to see.” Simone has a wonderful view of love. She sings about the beauty of the world when you’ve found your perfect partner.
“One Little Christmas Tree” By Stevie Wonder
There are countless songs about Christmas trees, but the best has to be “One Little Christmas Tree” by Stevie Wonder. Wonder is a living legend, having released some of the best music of all time including “Superstition” and “Isn’t She Lovely.”
“One Little Christmas Tree” is about how Christmas and its traditions can bring people together. The Christmas tree, even though it’s small, is enough to “light up a home.” Wonder wants us to think about the other things that make us happy and feel loved.
“Fake Plastic Trees” By Radiohead
“Fake Plastic Trees” is a 1995 song from Radiohead. Although not about any live trees, Radiohead talks about the fakeness of modern life. To Radiohead, everything is becoming fake, even the trees and plants we have around us.
But Radiohead also focuses on what is real. To them, love and the people you chose to be around are what’s real. No matter if you’re surrounded by fake plastic trees, you’ll always be able to find someone or something real if you can bear the fakes.
“So Tall a Tree” By Bing Crosby
“So Tall a Tree” by Bing Crosby is a song from the 1950s that talks about the worth of a man, comparing that to a tree. Crosby sings about the height of a tree compared to a man, implying that a man is small, both physically and in the grand scheme of the world.
The song also plays on fears people have of time. Crosby sings about how the tree you carve your name on may be the tree they use to build your coffin. Crosby wants to show us how insignificant we are but also the major impacts we can have while still around.
“Weeping Willow” By The Verve
The Verve’s classic song “Weeping Willow” is a ballad about love, depression, and hopelessness. People often associate willows with depression because of their downward-facing nature.
“Weeping Willow” is about the author’s struggle with depression and how they feel stuck in a downward spiral. They sing about how they want to be saved from their position but don’t feel like anyone can see what they can see or feel.
“Small Axe” By Bob Marley and the Wailers
Although not directly about a tree, Bob Marley and the Wailers use a tree as a symbol in their song “Small Axe.” Life in Jamaica during Marley’s life was marked by violence and extreme inequality. “Small Axe” is a reference to the feelings of insignificance people felt.
Marley doesn’t want people to feel small, instead, he compares them to an ax. Even the smallest ax can cut down the biggest tree. Marley wants people to understand that they’re the small ax, and they have enough power to cut down the big tree that’s hurting them.
“Apple Suckling Tree” By Bob Dylan
“Apple Suckling Tree” is a 1975 country-rock song by Bob Dylan. The song is essentially a love song, although that’s disputed. Dylan sings about the joy he feels when he spends time with his love underneath a particular apple tree.
Many dispute the meaning of the song because Dylan was never clear on its meaning. According to him, he made the lyrics up on the spot, without focusing on anything in particular. It’s up to yob to find the meaning of the “Apple Suckling Tree!”
“In the Pines” (Where Did You Sleep Last Night) By Nirvana
Although it’s one of the most recognizable Nirvana songs, “In the Pines” is rarely referred to by its original name. Most people know it from Nirvana’s famous 1993 MTV Unplugged album. The song was originally made in the 1800s and famously performed by Lead Belly in 1925.
“In the Pines” is a song about a man whose girlfriend didn’t return home from a night out. It discusses the feelings that he may have, including “shivering the whole night through.” Kurt Cobain adds his chilling cadence to the song, giving it an air of desperation.
The song mentions that she may have slept “in the pines.” Pines here may represent the tree, but it more likely symbolizes wilderness and the unknown.
“The Dreaming Tree” By Dave Matthews Band
“The Dreaming Tree” by Dave Matthews Band is a story of ambition and the cruel fate that time gives us all. The song starts with an old man remembering the dreaming tree that once stood. Now, the area is filled with “crowded streets.”
“The Dreaming Tree” is a song about the changes that happen in people’s lives. It’s about remembering the good times while also moving forward with time. Although the past will always be with you, you must look toward the future.
“Angel Tree” By Elton John
“Angel Tree” is a 1968 song from Elton John. It’s about the hardships people face in life while trying to achieve their goals. Although the route to the top of the angel tree is “awful steep,” people still climb it in an attempt to reach their dreams.
Elton John also sings about how some people rest underneath the trunk of the tree, only to never wake up again. John might be saying how people become unmotivated and idle when their dreams seem unachievable.
“The Baby Tree” By Jefferson Starship and Paul Kantner
“The Baby Tree” by Jefferson Starship and Paul Kantner is their rendition of a bluegrass song. People often consider the song as weird. The lyrics describe a place where babies “all grow on trees” and people can choose their child.
Although not referencing a real tree, “The Baby Tree” makes the point that pregnancy doesn’t give them choices, much like a baby tree would. Many people theorized that the song was written while under the influence of drugs, so maybe we can’t take it too seriously!
“Cherry Tree” By The National
Cherry trees are often a symbol of love or honesty, and The National’s song “Cherry Tree” represents that perfectly. “Cherry Tree” is a sad love song about the honesty needed in a relationship.
On multiple occasions, The National says the line “loose lips sink ships.” If the song is a representation of two people arguing about their relationship, this likely refers to saying things that may hurt the other’s feelings. Sometimes saying nothing is better than saying everything.
“Tall Tall Trees” By Alan Jackson
Alan Jackson’s 1995 rendition of the classic “Tall Tall Trees” is a love song about what a man would do for his love. He would “buy tall, tall trees and all the waters in the seas.” He admits he’s a fool in love, so foolish he would buy trees.
Jackson refers to buying tall trees for two reasons. First, it shows his devotion to his significant other. It could also be about how he would raise and cultivate trees for his love, something that takes commitment and time.
“The Trees” By Rush
When Rush’s legendary drummer Neil Peart saw a cartoon of a tree in 1978, he wrote “The Trees.” The cartoon inspired him to see trees as people. Peart wrote a song to describe how trees would act if they were people.
Peart writes about how the oak trees and the maple trees differ in their opinions, both thinking they’re correct. They then fight, with the maples forming a “union” that protects them from the oaks.
Some people think the song is against collectivism, a stance Rush made many times. The final line says that all the trees will be equal now, but not because of the union. The hatchets and axes will make them equal, by seemingly using violence.
“Sitting in the Palmtree” By ABBA
The legendary Swedish pop group ABBA released “Sitting in the Palmtree” in 1974. ABBA was inspired to write the song when a musician friend of theirs climbed a palm tree and refused to come down until his girlfriend said she loved him.
The song describes a man who feels powerful while sitting in a palm tree. From so high, “no one can harm” him. He can stay up there and watch the people without being disturbed. But in the end, he’s doing it because he wants his love to return and tell him she loves him.
“In My Tree” By Pearl Jam
“In My Tree” by Pearl Jam is a song about obligations, friendship, and isolation. Pearl Jam describes a place up a tree where the writer feels safe in their isolation. When they’re up in the tree, the rest of the world doesn’t take notice.
When they’re up in the tree, they have no obligations. They can do as they please in their obligation. The song could be about the expectations people have for musicians. At the end of the day, those musicians sometimes prefer to be alone rather than bombarded by their fame.
“The Pine Tree” By Johnny Cash and June Carter
“The Pine Tree” is a duet by Johnny Cash and June Carter that they released in 1973. The two were married and the song represents the bond they have with each other. The song is a beautiful duet that uses Cash’s unique lyrical style.
Carter describes how their love is stable as an oak. They describe how love is like a “thorn bush” because it will prick you even if you don’t notice.
“Birch” By Big Red Machine
Big Red Machine released “Birch” in 2021, collaborating their talents with Taylor Swift. The lyrics indicate that the singer is struggling with their place in life. They sing about feeling uneasy about walking down a tree-lined street because it reminds him of what he kept inside.
The song has a sad melody, but by the end of the song, the lyrics have turned to a more upbeat note. Instead of feeling despair about his position, they sing about waking up in a “brand-new way.”
“The Cherry Tree” By Sting
“The Cherry Tree” is a song by Sting that uses references to the Bible. Sting sings about how Joseph and Mary were married, but she was impregnated by God. She asks Joseph to gather cherries from the tree, but he angrily asks why the father doesn’t gather the cherries.
The cherry tree may represent the love they have for each other. Cherry trees commonly refer to love or new life. Ultimately, Mary collects the cherries herself, and Joseph begs for mercy for his indiscretion toward his wife.
Songs About Trees
Songwriters have a fascination with trees. Trees can have so many meanings, whether despair and sorrow or rebirth and happiness. If you’ve been looking for a song about trees, you’re sure to find one you enjoy!