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Grave Care: Tips for a Well-Maintained Resting Place

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The grave and the cemetery are places where one can find peace. A place that offers solace and where one should feel somewhat at ease. Therefore, it is necessary to maintain the grave and keep it tidy.

To help you understand what you need to consider when maintaining a grave and how to achieve a low-maintenance grave design, we have compiled some important grave care tips for you below.

How do I clean the gravestone?

Roughly, the dirt can be removed with a damp cloth. For some stones, you can also use curd or soft soap.

Winterizing Your Grave Care

To prepare the grave for winter, the summer and autumn plants need to be removed. Apart from clearing away leaves, weeds, withered plants, and flower remains, perennials and shrubs need to be pruned. Keep in mind that pruning should not be started too late, as blooming shoots might already be damaged.

Initial Planting

Following the burial, the initial planting takes place. Urn graves can be planted immediately after the burial. Earth graves require more time before the initial planting can occur, as the grave mound needs to settle first. The settling of the earth takes between 3 and 12 months.

This process can, however, be influenced by various factors such as soil conditions, the time of year, and weather conditions.

Before the headstone is set, a transitional planting is advisable. To create a cohesive and respectful gravesite appearance, the final planting should only be done once the headstone is in place.

In general, it is recommended to avoid initial planting during the cold months and instead wait for the warmer weeks, ideally at the beginning of spring.

When designing the gravesite, the cemetery regulations specify which flowers, plants, and ground covers are permitted and which are not. It is essential to adhere to these guidelines.

 

The Right Soil for the Grave

The preferred soil for a grave is the grave soil itself, as it contains all the essential nutrients for the grave plants. Additionally, grave soil is darker than regular potting soil, which adds to a more aesthetically pleasing gravesite appearance. Alternatively, classic potting soil can also be used for planting the grave. 

If the cemetery's soil composition is very sandy, the ground is often too dry as the water drains too quickly. In such cases, additional soil should be added. 

It is also important to note that due to ecological considerations, you should not use artificial fertilizers on your grave. Compost is allowed.

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Choosing Your Plants

When the time comes to select plants for your grave planting, it can be overwhelming with the wide variety of options available. It’s important to consider the care requirements of each plant.

Grave planting can be classified into permanent and seasonal planting. Permanent planting is intended to last for many years and throughout all seasons, covering the grave with evergreen plants. Ground covers, in particular, help prevent the growth of weeds.

Seasonal planting, on the other hand, is adjusted according to the respective seasons. For more information on grave planting, read our article: Beautiful Grave Planting Throughout the Year.

The maintenance and associated effort depend on your choice of plants and the location of the grave site. If you choose plants that require a lot of water and the grave site is in a sunny location, be prepared to water them daily during hot summer days.

 

Grave Maintenance Before Winter Sets In

 

  • Sommer- und Herbstbepflanzung beseitigen | © Sommer- und Herbstbepflanzung beseitigen
    Summer and Fall Plantings Cleanup

    Bevor neu bepflanzt wird, muss die Sommer- und Herbstbepflanzung beseitigt werden

  • Stauden und Gehölze zurückschneiden | © Stauden und Gehölze zurückschneiden
    Pruning Perennials and Shrubs

    Entfernen von Laub, Unkraut, verblühten Pflanzen und Blumenresten. Ebenfalls müssen Stauden und Gehölze zurückgeschnitten werden.

  • Winterbeständige Blumen, Pflanzen und auch Sträucher pflanzen | © Winterbeständige Blumen, Pflanzen und auch Sträucher pflanzen
    Planting Winter-Hardy Flowers, Plants, and Shrubs

    Solange der Boden noch nicht gefroren ist, können winterbeständige Pflanzen, Sträucher und Blumen gepflanzt werden

  • Gräber mit dicken Zweigen bedecken | © Gräber mit dicken Zweigen bedecken
    Covering Tombs with Thick Branches

    Die Bepflanzung mit dicken Zweigen bedecken. Tannenzweige oder Zweige der Blaufichte eignen sich besonders gut.

To prepare the grave for winter, the summer and autumn planting need to be removed. In addition to removing leaves, weeds, withered plants, and flower remnants, perennials and shrubs must be pruned. Keep in mind not to start pruning too late, as blooming shoots may be damaged.

As long as the ground is not yet frozen, you can plant winter-hardy flowers, plants, and shrubs.

To protect the planting from low temperatures, frost, and snowfall despite its hardiness, the graves are covered with thick branches. Spruce or blue spruce branches are particularly suitable for this.

 

Grave care also includes cleaning the tombstone

To keep your tombstone looking its best, it should also be cleaned occasionally.

How prone the tombstone is to dirt depends on the type of stone. Besides green spots, moss, and grime can accumulate.

Generally, dirt can be removed with a damp cloth. For some stones, you can also use soap or cleaning soap.

More stubborn dirt can be removed with special cleaning agents, which you can order from us. Algae, lichens, fungi, and other impurities can be easily removed with these. Additionally, our cleaning and care products protect the tombstone from future dirt.

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Frequently Asked Questions about Grave Maintenance

We would now like to answer some other frequently asked questions about grave maintenance that we often receive from our customers.

 

How often should a grave be maintained?

A grave needs to be maintained regularly. Depending on the complexity of your grave design, you should remove wilted flowers or branches at least once a week. During hot summers, it is advisable to water daily or every other day. If the grave is not properly maintained, you will receive a written notice from the relevant authority requesting you to tidy up the grave accordingly. This notice is issued with a deadline.

 

Who takes care of the grave maintenance?

Grave maintenance can be done personally.

However, it does not necessarily have to be undertaken by the bereaved.

The tasks can also be taken over by a gardener. This professional will handle the responsibilities of grave maintenance such as watering the plants, keeping the grave free of weeds, and adjusting the planting according to the seasons.

 

What is the cost of grave maintenance?

If you wish to leave grave maintenance to a gardener, this will of course involve a cost. Typically, you would hire a gardener for long-term grave maintenance. The scope of work is agreed upon with the gardener. Depending on what is included - removing weeds, cleaning the gravestone, replanting, and/or leveling the grave anew - the costs range between 100 and 700 Euros annually.

However, this allows you to be flexible with your time and location, without having to worry about the grave looking untended in your absence.

 

Conclusion

Grave maintenance is an important aspect of keeping a grave neat and well-kept. After all, you want to visit the memorial of your deceased family member, friend, or colleague at a beautiful site and reminisce fondly.

If you choose to handle the grave maintenance yourself, we hope that the tips provided here offer you some useful information. If, as a bereaved or relative, you cannot dedicate time to grave maintenance, it is advisable to hire a gardener or the cemetery's own gardening service.

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