Stranahan Arboretum

General Information

The University of Toledo's Stranahan Arboretum is a 47-acre site, about a 10 minute drive from the main campus, that consists of cultivated ornamental trees, rolling lawns, natural woods, ponds, wetlands and prairies. It serves as one of the Department of Environmental Science's field sites for environmental education and research. Both graduate and undergraduate courses in ecology and geology use the Arboretum as an outdoor laboratory.  It also hosts a number of educational programs for area school students (K-12) throughout the year.

Volunteers to assist with pruning and other basic activities to maintain the arboretum collection are always welcome.  

Emerald Ash Borer Quarantine At the Arboretum:
The Stranahan Arboretum has been identified as having the emerald ash borer. This Asian pest kills ash trees by eating the living layer, called the cambium. Therefore, no wood products may be taken from the arboretum grounds (twigs, branches, bark, mulch, trees or lumber). Leaf collection is permitted, but please do not remove twigs.

The Arboretum was donated to the University of Toledo in 1964 by the W. W. Knight family in memory of Robert Stranahan.

Our mission is to understand the contributions of plants, particularly trees, to urban landscape ecology and other earth science-related issues and to educate the public concerning the nature of our cultivated and native plant life in Northwest Ohio. Urban Landscape Ecology is the study of human interaction with the environment.  

Cultivated Areas:
Approximately 800 specimens of cultivated, mature trees from areas as far-flung as China, Serbia, Japan and Norway. North American native varieties range from the Bristlecone Pine to our own down-home favorite, the Buckeye.

  • New and Old Growth Forest: About 1/4 of the Arboretum is covered by forest. The woods closest to the pond have not been cleared for over 150 years and have oaks as the dominant tree. Peaks of old sand dunes are visible under the forest undergrowth. The newer forest in the back is about 50 years old and has red maple as the dominant tree.
  • Prairie and Succession Plot: A restored prairie is planted with Big Bluestem, Indian Grass and other native prairie plants. It is burned every few years to control woody plants. A section of the succession plot is plowed every few years to investigate what plants invade disturbed areas. Other sections are allowed to grow longer to allow the progressive invasion of woody plants.
  • Pond and Wetland Areas: Both the pond and wetland are human-created structures, with one at the level of the water table and the second slightly above it. These areas are host to many frogs, turtles, crayfish and insects as well as aquatic plants like duckweed and cattails.
  • The Ravine: As the last glacier retreated from this area, about 14,000 years ago, it left a layer of clay overlaid with sand ranging from five to thirty feet deep. Water filtered through the sand and created a ravine that drains the ponds of the Arboretum. Many types of native plants populate this area and the fifteen-foot-deep ravine cuts into the layers of sediment that record our geologic past.
Last Updated: 6/29/23