Signs of spring: VU Arboretum grows by 35 trees 

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  • Vanderbilt University Arboretum is designated a Level II Certified Arboretum by ArbNet, an international arboretum accreditation and networking program that supports the common purposes and interests of tree-focused public gardens. 
  • More than 100 trees were handpicked to be planted on campus in 2024. 
  • In April, 35 were planted in the arboretum, and the remainder will be planted with other capital projects in 2024.  
  • Vanderbilt University established an official Tree Replacement Policy in 2023. 

Springtime in the Vanderbilt University Arboretum fills campus with buds and blooms, and new trees find their home across the grounds. 

At the beginning of April, people walking around campus may have noticed landscapers planting trees in the arboretum. The trees were planted in clusters across campus, including on Alumni Lawn and near Rand, Sarratt and Curry Field.  

Selecting these trees began in December 2023 when University Landscape Architect James Moore went on his annual road trip to find trees at multiple nurseries in the Southeast. The initial 35 trees came from Select Trees near Athens, Georgia.  

On the trip, Moore tagged over 100 trees to be planted on campus in 2024. A variety of large shade tree species, focusing on mostly on native trees, was selected: 

  • American linden 
  • Water hickory 
  • Overcup oak  
  • Red oak 
  • Bald cypress 
  • Red maple 
  • Persian ironwood 
  • Jefferson elm  
  • Shumard oak 

This planting initiative was funded by the Mapheus Smith Fund and by a generous gift for a commemorative tree by 2013 alumna Sarah Catherine Perot, BS’13, in honor of her father, Henry Ross Perot Jr, BA’81.

Future plantings will be supported in part by the university’s official tree replacement policy which sets the goal of ensuring that Vanderbilt’s tree canopy is maintained and replaced when affected by construction. 

Explore the Vanderbilt University Arboretum virtually with this interactive tree map, developed by the Facilities Geographic Information Services department. The map is a guide for Vanderbilt and Nashville community members to virtually explore the Level II ArbNet certified arboretum.  

Learn more about the Vanderbilt University Arboretum.