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Utility Line Arboretum

Dr. Eric Wiseman began collaborating with Dr. Appleton on this research and outreach endeavor in 2005 when he established an arboretum at the Hahn Horticulture Garden on the Virginia Tech campus in Blacksburg, VA.  The Utility Line Arboretum displays trees (and a few large shrubs) that have a proven track record of performance in urban environments and compatibility with overhead utility lines.  In essence, it gives the public a place to observe and evaluate species that are commonly recommended for utility easements.  So the arboretum not only raises awareness of the tree-utility conflict issue, but also gives people the opportunity to “test drive” the trees before they plant them on their property or in their community.

Many of the trees in the arboretum are from the UtiliTrees™ product line of the J. Frank Schmidt & Son Company.  These cultivars have been selected for their small stature, adaptability, and attractiveness.  Trees were established in the arboretum as follows: 6 in fall 2005, 8 in spring 2006, 23 in fall 2006, 14 in fall 2007, and 3 in fall 2008.  The arboretum now holds 54 specimens.


Developing the arboretum has also been an excellent educational experience for Virginia Tech’s urban forestry students.  They have participated in every facet of the arboretum, including design, species selection, planting, and maintenance.  An estimated 58 students have assisted with the arboretum over the last five years. The Hahn Horticulture Garden staff has also been very generous in assisting with irrigation of the trees and maintenance of the lawn.   Funding for the arboretum has been made possible through Urban & Community Forestry Grants from Virginia Department of Forestry and USDA Forest Service.



Virginia Tech Dept. of Forest Resources & Environmental Conservation Virginia Department of Forestry USDA Forest Service