Celebration to mark Maxwell Arboretum's 50th year

The Eastern Cottonwood located in the middle of Maxwell Arboretum.

April 28, 2017

Lincoln, Neb. — A lecture and tree planting are part of events set for May 16 celebrating the 50th anniversary of the Earl G. Maxwell Arboretum on the University of Nebraska-Lincoln's East Campus.

George Briggs, director of the North Carolina Arboretum in Asheville, will share "Lessons from a Prairie Arboretum" in a free talk at 2:30 p.m. in the Nebraska East Union. A former faculty member at Nebraska, Briggs was director of the Nebraska Statewide Arboretum. Following the lecture, refreshments, a tree planting and tours will begin at about 4 p.m. in the arboretum, east of the Dairy Store.

Maxwell Arboretum was approved in 1967 by the University of Nebraska Board of Regents after then-student David Doeschot suggested the area be set aside from development or destruction and named after Maxwell. Doeschot, now a retired cattleman from Hickman, will speak at the May 16 event.

A native of Indiana, Maxwell (1884-1966) earned a master's degree from the University of Nebraska in 1915. He taught at the university from 1915 to 1917 and then became the first extension agent for Douglas County, a position he held for 12 years. From 1934 to his retirement in 1952, he was the state extension forester, overseeing programs through which more than 20 million trees were distributed and planted throughout Nebraska.

Maxwell was intensely interested in finding trees and shrubs that would thrive in Nebraska's varied and sometimes harsh climates. He planted a number of trees and shrubs on East Campus, which served as his trial garden. Even after his retirement, he visited the East Campus grounds weekly to observe his plantings.

Since 1967, Maxwell Arboretum has become a signature garden for the university and is a premier member of the Nebraska Statewide Arboretum. The 12-acre arboretum exhibits native and exotic species, herbaceous perennial gardens and woody plants. Special collections focus on hostas, irises, oaks, maples, horsechestnuts, viburnums, vines, lilacs, rhododendrons and deciduous conifers. A prairie showcases native grasses.

Wilbur "Bud" Dasenbrock, former director of Landscape Services, said many of the oldest trees on East Campus were planted by Maxwell and continue to demonstrate the value of his selections.

The event is sponsored by Friends of Maxwell Arboretum, the Office of the Vice Chancellor for the Institute of Agriculture and Natural Resources, the Department of Agronomy and Horticulture, the Nebraska Statewide Arboretum, Landscape Services and UNL Garden Friends.

Parking for the event is suggested at 39th and Center streets. For more information, click here or here.


Emily Levine
Extension Technologist
Nebraska Forest Service
402-472-6274
elevine2@unl.edu