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TN – East Tennessee State University Arboretum

The ETSU Arboretum encompasses the core of the 200+ acre ETSU campus and an adjoining 20 acres of University Woods, an old growth deciduous forest. The Arboretum maintains a collection of species native to the southern Appalachians and the eastern United States. Several native specimens exceed 100 years of age and pre-date establishment of the campus in the early 20th century. Many exotics complement the landscape plantings. The ETSU Arboretum was conceived in 2001 for the use as a teaching collection, as a demonstration and trial site for woody plants and for the enjoyment of the students, staff and general public. At inception, at least one specimen of each established tree was labeled. An intensive period of planting ensued for the subsequent four years with support from grant funds and with an emphasis on special collections.

Since 2001, four conifer themes have been developed:

Dwarf Conifer Garden – This is a showcase of the Arboretum that houses over 80 different species and cultivars. One representative of each cultivar is signed. The Dwarf Conifer Garden has received targeted grant support from two local garden clubs and from the Harris Foundation for Washington County. Some unique specimens were donated by the US National Arboretum.

Conifers for Evergreen Screens – In 2003, a bed was established as a trial and demonstration of the variety of conifers that could be used regionally for screens. That planting has matured so that it serves as a screen from a busy road and as a windbreak for deciduous species in an adjoining bed. Together, the conifer and deciduous beds comprise the “Trees for Tomorrow” theme, a planting designed to introduce the public to novel plants for southern Appalachian landscapes.

East Asian-Eastern North American Relatives – An educational theme of the Arboretum is to demonstrate the strong floristic relationship between East Asia and Eastern North America. Closely related tree species from various genera are planted in proximity to highlight their affinity.

Hinoki Cypress Cultivars – This recent collection was initiated to demonstrate the variation among forms within a species. It complements a collection of Japanese Maple cultivars with a similar purpose.

In addition research projects are underway to understand patterns of spread of the hemlock woolly adelgid in populations of Carolina hemlock, and to examine the impacts of balsam woolly adelgid on Frasier Fir and high elevation forests at Mt. Mitchell, NC.

The Arboretum’s conifer collection currently includes approximately 130 species and cultivars in 25 genera. For more information about the ETSU Arboretum, please email to arboretum@etsu.edu.

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