The Arboretum

Arboretum/Woody Plant Demonstration/Research Area

The main objectives of this demonstration garden are to determine which woody plants are best suited for growing in the Rocky Mountain area and display these plants for public and teaching purposes.

The arboretum at CSU has the largest collections of woody plants in the region with over 1,100 different taxa represented. Presently, a computerized method for collection, storage, and retrieval of information on plant performance has been implemented for all the woody plants in the arboretum. New plants are continually being added and evaluated in the collection. In 2017, 79 different woody plants were donated from eight different nurseries, arboreta, USDA, and other state experiment stations for evaluation. All new bare root woody plants were containerized after arrival. Shrub and tree species obtained this year are growing in our lath house and/or greenhouse and eventually will be planted in the various collections.

Due to construction of a new football stadium and practice field adjacent to the arboretum, many areas of the old Plant Environmental Research Center (PERC) were relocated in 2015 and 2016 but the arboretum was kept at the original site and even had upgrades made to it. Improvements to the arboretum include pathways, sitting areas throughout the existing area and a new entrance on Lake Street with a space for a small outdoor classroom and educational signage about the arboretum. The new entrance has also been combined with a new “Heritage Garden” which will showcase the agricultural heritage from six major regions in Colorado.

Arboretum Through the Seasons

The woody plant section is designed on a grid pattern, and exact permanent locations of plant material have been determined and recorded. Most plants in the arboretum are labeled, and each plant label has a trial selection number, along with scientific and common names listed on it. Display labels with scientific and common names have been placed on one replication of each taxa throughout the arboretum this year on the north side of the plant.

In the southeast corner of the arboretum, a Plant Select® demonstration garden is planted. In this planting current and future woody and herbaceous Plant Select® endorsements, introductions or original plants are planted. Plant Select® is a joint plant introduction program between Colorado State University, Denver Botanic Gardens and the Green Industry of Colorado.

The woody plant demonstration/research area is under the direction of Dr. James E. Klett. David Staats (Research Associate) is in charge of record keeping for this area in 2018.

In the spring of 2003, we lost approximately one and one half acres of the arboretum for the construction of a new dormitory on campus. The approximately 120 taxa of plants located in this area were tree spaded to a new arboretum site off of Center Avenue, north of Spring Creek and adjacent to the new City of Fort Collins horticulture center (The Gardens at Spring Creek). These trees are planted in rows by genus at the new site. In the Spring of 2005 seventeen different Elm cultivars were planted in order to find varieties that may be more resistant to Dutch Elm Disease. This is one site in the National Elm Trial program. Feel free to visit this site and view first-hand these newer tree clones.

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