Governors’ Oaks

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Governors’ Oaks

The establishment of this collection launched the first major project at the arboretum and the beginning of Arbor Week celebrations in Iowa.

In 1971, Governor Robert D. Ray of Iowa offered Iowans the opportunity to minimize environmental pressures in the landscape. An Environmental Action Program (EAP) was launched in April and May of 1971 to beautify, conserve, and become soil stewards of the Iowan landscape. Due to the woven-relationship of these and other environmental programs, Governor Ray sponsored a similar program in 1972, which established the Governor’s Arbor Week segment of the EAP, and the ceremonial tree plantings that have occurred thereafter. Governor Robert D. Ray had the honor of planting the first Arbor Day, Governors’ Grove oak in 1972, which is a respectable, if still juvenile-sized Scarlet Oak (Quercus coccinia) today.

Bur Oak (Quercus macrocarpa) is native to Iowa and planted in this collection. Several oak specimens originated as transplants from the native 300-acre woodlands across Peach Avenue, including many red (Quercus rubra) and white oaks (Quercus alba).

Many oak species are native to Iowa, and thus, have been planted in the Governors’ Grove to honor of those in public service at the state level. Honorariums for Iowa’s past Governors, First Ladies, and Lieutenant Governors fill the grove, all being dedicated at past Iowa Arboretum Arbor Day celebrations.

The original planting was developed by Neal Franson, Professor Robert Dyas, and Iowa State University students. The construction of the Hughes Education Center in 1999 lead to a large transplanting project of several honorarium oaks. Therefore, the collection was relocated to the southeast portion of the 40-acre site. While this is our most concentrated planting of oaks, over two dozen species of oaks and oak hybrids are represented throughout the 40-acre arboretum grounds.

Accession Number Genus Species Cultivar Common Name Memorial/Honorarium Year Memorial/Honorarium Name
010098 Quercus bicolor Swamp White Oak 2004 16th Governor, Francis M. Drake, Arbor Day 2004
030006 Quercus macrocarpa Bur Oak 2003 38th Governor of Iowa, Robert D. Ray, Arbor Day 2003
070573 Quercus palustris ‘Pringreen’ Green Pillar Pin Oak
070575 Quercus palustris ‘Pringreen’ Green Pillar Pin Oak
120004 Quercus robur x bicolor ‘Long’ Legacy Regal Prince Oak 2012 42nd Governor of Iowa, Terry Branstad, Arbor Day 2012
720002A Quercus bicolor Swamp White Oak
720002B Quercus bicolor Swamp White Oak
720002C Quercus bicolor Swamp White Oak
780002 Quercus sp. Oak
810053A Quercus x saulii (prinus x alba) Saul Oak 1998 6th Governor of Iowa, William Stone, Arbor Day 1998
810053B Quercus x saulii (prinus x alba) Saul Oak 1996 5th and 9th Governor of Iowa,  Samuel Kirkwood, Arbor Day 1996
820005 Prunus cerasifera ‘Newport’ Newport Cherry Plum
820336E Quercus sp. (imbricaria x rubra F2) Hybrid Red Oak 2000 17th Governor of Iowa, Leslie M. Shaw, Arbor Day 2000
820336F Quercus sp. (imbricaria x rubra F2) Hybrid Red Oak 2005 7th Governor of Iowa, Samuel Merrill, Arbor Day 2005
820336D Quercus sp. (imbricaria x rubra F2) Hybrid Red Oak 1999 14th Governor of Iowa, Horace Boies, Arbor Day 1999
820336C Quercus sp. (imbricaria x rubra F2) Hybrid Red Oak 1989 1st Governor of Iowa, Ansel Briggs, Arbor Day 1989
820339 Quercus x exacta (imbricaria x palustris) Laurelpin Oak 1997 6th Governor of Iowa, Harold E. Hughes, Arbor Day 1997
830153 Pinus densiflora ‘Umbraculifera’ Japanese Red Pine
830237 Quercus x runcinata (imbricaria x rubra) Hybrid Oak 1990 1st Territorial Governor of Iowa, Robert Lucas, Arbor Day 1990
830254 Quercus velutina Black Oak 1994 3rd Governor of Iowa, James W. Grimes, Arbor Day 1994
830256C Quercus imbricaria Shingle Oak
830264 Quercus muehlenbergii Chinkapin Oak 1983 35th Governor of Iowa, Norman Erbe, Arbor Day 1983
840090 Quercus palustris Pin Oak
850013A Malus x ‘Professor Sprenger’ Professor Sprenger Crabapple
850031A Quercus macrocarpa Bur Oak 1993 20th Governor of Iowa, Beryl F. Carroll, Arbor Day 1993
850031B Quercus macrocarpa Bur Oak 2007 10th Governor of Iowa, Joshua Newbold, Arbor Day 2007
880003A Quercus muehlenbergii Chinkapin Oak 2006 8th Governor of Iowa, Cyrus Carpenter, Arbor Day 2006
880003B Quercus muehlenbergii Chinkapin Oak
910050B Quercus sp. Hybrid Oak 1992 Iowa’s Sesquicentennial
990201 Pinus strobus White Pine
910050A Quercus sp. Hybrid Oak 1992 Iowa Arboretum 25th Anniversary
820293 Quercus alba White Oak 1983 39th Governor of Iowa, Terry Branstad, Arbor Day 1983

*This collection page was last updated on February 28, 2018.

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