Colorado State University Campus Arboretum

ArbNet Level III Arboretuminterpretive signage within the Heritage Arboretum

The Colorado State University (CSU) Campus Arboretum and Botanical Garden embodies CSU’s land-grant heritage and mission by offering an engaging learning laboratory environment for students, employees, and community visitors. We manage trees diverse in terms of age (from newly planted to 150 years old), class, and species (294 species), distributed over three campuses (Main, South, and Foothills), comprising 2,400 acres of land. The majority of CSU’s managed urban forest is located on the Main Campus within 220 acres of irrigated landscape. The Campus Arboretum leverages the investments of our historical and diverse urban forest, the Heritage Arboretum and Garden, CSU Horticulture Research Center, Annual Flower Trial Gardens, and the Perennial Garden at the University Center for the Arts. The CSU Campus Arboretum is an exceptional asset for the community, advancing individual programs and efforts around research and teaching through the overarching structure and prominence of the arboretum, while solidifying a legacy that preserves our urban forest for future generations.Heritage Garden Signage

ArbNet’s Arboretum Accreditation Program advances the planting, study, and conservation of trees, recognizing arboreta at various levels of development, capacity, and professionalism and fosters professionalism of arboreta worldwide. No other international program of accreditation exists specific to arboreta. Accreditation is based on self-assessment and documentation of an arboretum’s level of achievement of accreditation standards, including planning, governance, number of species, staff or volunteer support, education and public programming, and tree science research and conservation. Learn more about CSU's ArbNet Accreditation Level III status and the Morton Register.

The Campus Arboretum is overseen by the Campus Arboretum Committee, which include representatives from Facilities Management, the Department of Horticulture & Landscape Architecture, Colorado State Forest Service through Warner College, CSU Extension, Plant Select, and the City of Fort Collins.

View our CSU Tree Genus Species List.

View our Collections Management Manual.

View our Tree Care Plan.

Tree Campus Higher Education

To be a Tree Campus Higher Education (formerly Tree Campus USA) site, CSU ensures the protection and maintenance of our campus urban forest, reduce hazardous tree risks to public safety, and maintain a sustainable campus forest through tree species diversity and best management practices. The university joins more than 150 American colleges and universities recognized by the program. Specifically, Facilities Management and the Colorado State Forest Service team up to meet the five Tree Campus Higher Education standards: Campus Advisory Committee, Campus Tree Care Plan, Campus Tree Program with Dedicated Annual Expenditures, Arbor Day Observance, and Service Learning Project. Throughout each year, the Tree Advisory committee meets to ensure that the Tree Care Plan stays current and addresses new challenges as they arise. Each spring, they host an Arbor Day celebration, which provides students with a hands-on opportunity to learn more about trees and their important role in our environment.

Join us each year for our annual Tree Campus Higher Education Arbor Day planting & Earth Week celebrations! We plan to be virtual for our 2021 celebrations.

Colorado Arbor Day is Friday, April 16! Facilities Management Outdoor Services, for the tenth year in a row, will be planting trees on campus in honor of Arbor Day. Due to COVID, we cannot hold our annual public Arbor Day tree planting event, but as an alternative, the Campus Arboretum Committee will communicate out fun facts and photos via CSU social media about CSU’s Campus Arboretum. For example, did you know? The most common CSU main campus tree is honeylocust (9.78 percent), followed by green ash (8.83 percent), blue spruce (7.15 percent), Rocky Mountain Juniper (5.72 percent) and Austrian pine (5.22 percent). We are actively and intentionally working to establish better species diversity, so our overall campus forest will be more resilient to invasive pests, climate change, and severe weather events. The culminating feature will be the release of a short video on April 23 that looks back on the legacy of our stewardship over 140 years, and highlights our Tree Campus Higher Education designation. To learn more and view the video, check out the CSU Social links (, on April 16 and during Earth Week, April 19-23. We'll also post these here on this webpage.

Other events to check out:

Wednesday, April 14: Tree Planting
Time: 12:30pm MST
Instructor: Alison O'Connor, Larimer County Extension
After registering, you will receive an email with the class link.
Friday, April 16: Success with Trees Along the Front Range
Time: 12:00pm MST
Instructor: Eric Hammond, Adams County Extension
After registering, you will receive an email with the class link.

Friday, April 23: CSU Compost Giveaway
11 a.m. – 1 p.m. MST
Location: Moby Arena Parking Lot
Description: Working on the garden? Take some compost from our very own composting facility!  MUST BRING YOUR OWN SHOVEL; LIMIT OF 2, 5 GALLON BUCKETS. Individuals are asked to stay in their vehicles until their turn to retrieve compost. Masks required.

Our community-wide Earth Week and Arbor Day celebrations for April 2020 were canceled as well, due to COVID-19 safety precautions. However, thanks to the generosity of Bailey Nurseries, J. Frank Schmidt, Loma Vista, and Oregon Pride, CSU received a diverse pallet of donated trees, including bare root stock and container stock. Facilities Management Grounds crew planted over 150 trees during the months of April and May 2020 to celebrate CSU's sesquicentennial and in support of our CSU Campus Arboretum.

Facilities Management and Colorado State Forest Service planting a tree by Canvas Stadium for the 2019 Arbor Day Event   Volunteers finished planting a tree by Canvas Stadium for the 2019 Arbor Day Event    Tree planted in 2017 Arbor Day Event, located between the Lory Student Center and the Rec Center   Tree Campus USA Arbor Day Event 2017

Tree Campus USA Arbor Day planting in 2017 Volunteers finished planting a tree on the Oval for the first Arbor Day event on campus  CSU's Tree Campus USA Arbor Day event in 2012  Facilities Management and volunteers planting a tree for the 2017 Arbor Day Event

Arboretum News & Media

FM Weekly Communication - Notable Tree Tour (Jan. 4, 2021)

FM Daily Communication - 150 Trees (April 24, 2020)

HDS Video - 150 Trees (April 24, 2020)

SOURCE - 150 New Trees Celebrate CSU's Sesquicentennial (April 20, 2020)

ALUMLINE - The Oval: Preserving A Living Legacy (April 06, 2020)

SOURCE - CO Woody Plants: An Arboretum in Your Palm (July 12, 2019)

The Collegian - CSU receives 8th Tree Campus USA award at tree planting event (April 21, 2019)

SOURCE - Volunteer tree planting to focus on ‘Right Tree for the Right Place’ April 19 (April 15, 2019)


Special Tree & Plant Collections

Perennial Garden Perennial Garden

In the fall of 2016 the Perennial Teaching, Research, and Demonstration Garden was relocated from the old Plant Environmental Research Center (PERC) to its new home next to the CSU University Center for the Arts on Remington and Pitkin. The Perennial Garden was originally started at the PERC site in 1980 by Dr. Jim Klett and has grown over the decades to approximately 1000 taxa. Three of each taxa were moved to the new location for a total of approximately 3,000 plants. In addition to the 3,000 herbaceous perennials moved, 19 trees were saved and relocated.

Read more about Superior Herbaceous Perennials:

Heritage Arboretum & Garden Pathway at the Heritage Arboretum

The Heritage Arboretum at CSU has the largest collections of woody plants in the region with over 1,100 different taxa represented. The Heritage Gardens showcase the agricultural heritage from six major regions in Colorado. Presently, a computerized method for collection, storage, and retrieval of information on plant performance has been implemented for all the woody plants. New plants are continually being added to and evaluated in the collection.

Read the Heritage Arboretum reports or learn more about woody plant research:

Centre Avenue Arboretum

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

Centre Ave ArboretumIt began in 2003 with the need to relocate some trees at the Heritage Arboretum when the Summit Hall dorm was constructed. The trees were moved to the Centre Arboretum site which is approximately 6 acres. The plants at both the Heritage Arboretum and the Centre Arboretum are now part of the overall campus arboretum effort but are still managed by the Department of Horticulture and Landscape Architecture. Both areas have plants that were donated to the woody plant evaluation program from generous support from members of the Green Industry and other public gardens. Between the two sites, the arboretum at CSU has the largest collections of woody plants in the region with over 1,100 different taxa represented. Each plant is evaluated every two years and the report is available for free and online at New plants are continually being added and evaluated in the collection.

The plants at the Centre Avenue Arboretum are strictly trees while the Heritage Arboretum also includes many shrubs. The other main difference between the two sites is that the Centre Avenue site is organized in straight rows with a drip irrigation system while the Heritage site is planted in a more informal pattern by plant family and is irrigated with hoses and sprinklers. Both areas have each plant labeled with both scientific and common names and the label is usually on the north side unless there is a compelling reason (such as crowded by a nearby plant) to have it on the east or west. Both sites are free and open to the public during daylight hours.

Annual Flower Trial Garden Annual Flower Trial Garden

The outdoor display and test areas at the Annual Flower Trial Garden were established to allow students, researchers, industry representatives, homeowners and extension personnel to learn, teach and evaluate through horticultural research and demonstration projects conducted in the unique environmental conditions of the Rocky Mountain/High Plains region.

Read more about the Flower Trial Gardens:

The Oval

The Oval elm collection dating from 1881, is preserved for the long-term benefit of university and has continuing research value in finding efficacious treatments for evolving exotic pests of elm. The Heritage Garden & Arboretum Collection is 5.5 acres and was established over thirty years ago. It has the largest collections of woody plants in the region with over 1,100 different taxa represented.

Read about the Oval's history: The Oval - Fun Facts & History

SOURCE - Oval Trees 101: Do you know their history? (October 18, 2016)

The Oval in winter    The Oval in the summer   The Oval in the fall   The Oval in the fog - 1990

CSU is a proud member of the American Public Gardens Association, ArbNet, and Tree Campus Higher Education.

For more information about the Campus Arboretum or Tree Campus Higher Education, please contact Fred Haberecht at 970-491-0162.

To locate the CSU main campus or get directions, view the CSU interactive map.

American Public Gardens Association Proud Member Logo       ArbNet Level III    "Tree Campus Higher Education - An Arbor Day Foundation Program" Logo