A Short History of Central Gardens’ Arboretum

The citizens of Central Gardens have long prized the tree canopy of the neighborhood.   The Central Gardens Handbook states that “much of Central Gardens’ distinctive character is due to its abundant trees and other landscaping”.

Early in the 1980s, the Central Gardens Association Board adopted a formal plan for a Tree Replacement Program.  Canopy enhancement trees were donated and planted at board expense if the home owner agreed to water and care for the tree for a year.  Trees were planted in front or in side yards.  The CGA Newsletter featured ‘A Tree to Consider’ column. Trees suggested were ones eligible for the arboretum as the association had begun the process of becoming a Level 3 Arboretum as certified by the Tennessee Urban Forestry Council.

An Arboretum Committee worked diligently to identify at least 90 tree species.  A list of 109 trees with 97 different species was ready to submit by May 2008.  Before a tree could be placed on the arboretum list each homeowner had to be notified in person and asked to sign a permission slip to add the address, location and name of the tree to the arboretum list.  A small (4” x 6”) sign would be placed on the tree or in close proximity to the tree.  Our certification came in 2008 with scheduled workdays following for sign placement and maintenance annually.  Recertification took place in 2013 and was recertified again in 2020.

Efforts verifying the health of arboretum trees and monitoring to ensure signs remain in place are continuous.  Committee members work in assigned teams to accomplish this.  Future work will include updating arboretum changes on the neighborhood app and website.

Please refer to our Trees to Consider articles, which can be helpful when selecting a tree to plant in your yard. 

Take a walking tour of the Arboretum! Download our free app here for your smartphone which includes a GPS-enabled tour of the entire arboretum. Or download our Central Gardens Arboretum materials by clicking on the following: master map, zone maps, and arboretum list. Print out a copy and explore the arboretum by taking a leisurely walk through the neighborhood!

Tree Replacement Program

The Central Gardens tree replacement program was created to help reforest/retree our beautiful neighborhood. Our priorities are to:  

  1. Replace the Canopy with trees that will be 40 feet tall in the next 50 years. 
  2. To continue to add unique varieties to maintain and grow the Arboretum status.   

In the past CGA has required that trees be planted in front yards and this will remain true for decorative and smaller trees. Examples include but are not limited to Jane (or other tulip type) Magnolia, Sarah's Favorite, Muskogee Crepe Myrtle, Japanese Snowbell, Select Redbuds, or Chinese Fringe Tree.   We now allow canopy trees to be planted in back yards since they will eventually grow tall enough to support the canopy and provide shade to our neighborhood. Examples include but are not limited to:  Nuttal Oak, Trident Maple, Bald Cypress, Wildfire Blackgum, European Hornbeam, American Red Maple, and Persian Ironwood would all be considered canopy trees.  

To benefit from this terrific neighborhood perk, you must be a member of the CGA and request a tree to be planted on your property by completing the brief form on this page. Trees are offered on a first come-first serve basis as long as the budget is available. Trees are valued at $350. Urban Earth was selected by the CGA board to conduct the homeowner property evaluation and perform the tree installation. Each applicants garden is carefully evaluated for soil, light, and aesthetics. A tree will be suggested which they feel meets the criteria, along with photo(s) to demonstrate the species/cultivar suggested.   

If an arboretum tree is available and appropriate it may be suggested. When an arboretum tree is accepted, the homeowner grants permission for a small plaque to be placed at the tree with the common and scientific name of the tree if appropriate.   

To request a tree, complete the form and a member of our board will contact you.