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Austin Peay State University Arboretum certified by Tennessee Urban Forestry Council


Austin Peay State University - APSUClarksville, TN – In the early 1960s, a landscape planner named Charles Pinkley came up with an ambitious idea – he wanted to grow all of Tennessee’s native trees on the Austin Peay State University (APSU) campus.

Austin Peay State University Campus. (APSU)

Austin Peay State University Campus. (APSU)

Nearly 60 years later, the wooded campus is home to all of the state’s popular, native trees and more – about 130 different species, including all 22 native oak species – prompting the Tennessee Urban Forestry Council to certify Austin Peay as an official arboretum last fall.

“We’ve actually had an arboretum on campus for the last few years, but this adds a little more validation,” Wes Powell, APSU assistant director of landscape and grounds, said. “This certification puts us in a state-wide network where people can go to the website and find an arboretum and a plant map. We have all the trees identified and mapped on our website.”

Powell originally established the Austin Peay Arboretum in 2015, using a plant inventory created by Dr. Dwayne Estes, APSU botany professor, and Dr. Chris Gentry, APSU geosciences professor.

Wes Powell, assistant director of landscape and grounds at Austin Peay State University. (APSU)

Wes Powell, assistant director of landscape and grounds at Austin Peay State University. (APSU)

Since 2017, the University’s grounds and horticulture crews have corrected any maintenance needs on existing trees while also adding 45 new species to campus.

“Most arboretums, with the amount of species we have here, they’re open to the public but there’s usually an admission fee,” Powell said. “This is someplace you can come and see a lot of different species of trees for free at your own time.”



And anyone looking to add trees to their home landscaping is encouraged to visit Austin Peay State University to see how a specific tree matures.

“An arboretum, it’s designed to be an educational tool for the public,” Powell said. “If somebody wants a tree for their yard but they don’t know what it looks like in a natural setting, they can go to an arboretum. They can see how big it will be, what kind of tree it will be.”

For information on Austin Peay State University’s Arboretum, visit If you want to support the arboretum with a financial gift, contact University Advancement at .




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