Hey there, nature lover. If you’re from around Chesterfield and have a soft spot for all things green, then the Chesterfield County Arboretum is the place for you!
Back in 2019, the good folks of Chesterfield decided we needed a bit more green in our lives. And so, on a sprawling 580-acre plot within the Chesterfield Government Complex, the Chesterfield County Arboretum was born. It’s not just about looking pretty, though. This place has a mission: to boost our tree canopy, make our waters cleaner, and swap out some of that manicured lawn for wild, wonderful nature.
So, What’s an Arboretum Anyway?
Great question! An arboretum is like a botanical garden, but it’s all about trees and woody plants. It’s a living library, a place where trees are both studied and celebrated.
More Than Just Trees
Sure, it’s called an arboretum, but this place is about more than just trees. It’s about getting out, getting active, and soaking up some nature.
The arboretum isn’t just for looking, it’s for doing. It’s a call to embrace the outdoors, to take a jog among the trees, or to have a picnic under the shade.
The Tree Walk and Urban Orchard
Imagine strolling through an area with 21 different fruit trees. Apple? Check. Pear? You bet. And it doesn’t stop there. They’ve got nut trees and even fruiting shrubs. It’s like Mother Nature’s grocery store, right here in Chesterfield.
Here Are Some of The Trees You Will Find at The Arboretum
Shagbark Hickory (Carya ovata)
The Shagbark Hickory is easily recognizable by its distinctive, peeling bark that appears to “shag” or hang loosely from the trunk. This tall tree is not only a visual treat but also provides valuable hardwood used in furniture and tool handles. Its nuts are a favorite among wildlife, and they’re edible for humans too, with a sweet, rich flavor.
Mockernut Hickory (Carya tomentosa)
Another member of the hickory family, the Mockernut Hickory gets its name from its large, hard-to-crack nuts, which have a delicious, buttery flavor. The tree itself is known for its straight, tall trunk and dense canopy, providing ample shade. Its wood, like other hickories, is tough and durable.
American Plum (Prunus americana)
A treat for both the eyes and the palate, the American Plum tree produces beautiful white blossoms in spring, followed by juicy red to yellow plums in the summer. These plums are tart when eaten fresh but make delicious jams, jellies, and desserts. The tree also serves as a habitat for various birds and insects.
Pawpaw (Asimina triloba)
The Pawpaw tree is a hidden gem of North American forests. It produces large, green fruits that have a custard-like texture and a tropical flavor reminiscent of bananas and mangoes. Often called the “prairie banana,” the Pawpaw is not only delicious but also rich in nutrients. The tree’s distinctive, droopy leaves turn a golden yellow in the fall, adding to its charm.
Persimmon Trees (Diospyros virginiana)
The Persimmon tree is a delight in every season. In spring, it’s adorned with fragrant flowers, which give way to bright orange fruits in the fall. These fruits are astringent when unripe but become incredibly sweet and flavorful once they’ve softened. They’re used in various culinary delights, from puddings to cakes. The wood of the persimmon tree is also prized for its hardness and is often used in making golf club heads.
Allegheny Chinquapin (Castanea pumila)
The Allegheny Chinquapin, often just called Chinquapin, is a shrub or small tree known for its spiny burrs that house shiny, edible nuts. These nuts, though smaller, are similar in taste to the American chestnut and are cherished by both wildlife and humans. The Chinquapin is also valued for its resistance to the chestnut blight, a disease that devastated the American chestnut population.
Meet the Green Thumbs Behind the Magic
Every tree, every shrub, every patch of grass—it’s all looked after by a dedicated team.
The Horticulture Shop
These are the folks who make the magic happen. From ISA Certified Arborists to pesticide pros, this team knows their stuff. They’re the guardians of the arboretum, ensuring every plant thrives.
The Horticulture Shop team is always leveling up. They’re out there getting certifications, attending courses, and staying on top of the latest in tree care. All so that the arboretum remains a shining example of nature at its best.
A Gold Star for Chesterfield
Our arboretum isn’t just loved by locals—it’s recognized on the big stage. In 2019, it bagged a Level I accreditation from the bigwigs at the ArbNet Arboretum Accreditation Program and The Morton Arboretum.
Ready for a Visit to The Chesterfield Arboretum?
If all this talk of trees has you itching for a visit, we’ve got you covered.
Plan Your Day
Whether you’re into solo nature walks, a day out with the family, or a romantic picnic, the arboretum is ready for you.
The arboretum is open and waiting from Monday to Friday, 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Perfect for a morning stroll or an after-work wind-down.
Whether you’re a tree hugger, a casual stroller, or just someone looking for a breath of fresh air, the Chesterfield County Arboretum is your spot. See you there!
Dive deeper into the Arboretum with the “Speaking For the Trees” article.
Check out other nature spots in Chesterfield.