Hodgson Memorial Arboretum
The Hodgson Memorial Arboretum at the Southern Research and Outreach Center is named after R.E. Hodgson, superintendent of the Southern Experiment Station from 1919 to 1960. He helped to develop the Arboretum as an informal research plot, where growth, attractiveness, and hardiness of trees could be studied, albeit with minimal scientific rigor. The arboretum is less than 4 acres in size, and remains an informal place for students and naturalists to appreciate trees. The arboretum contains at least 35 tree species, the oldest dating to 1927.
In addition to the Arboretum, the grounds of the SROC hold numerous horticultural treasures. The area surrounding the SROC main office contains an abundance of oak and butternut, dating to before the University took ownership of the land just before 1920. These trees are visible from Highway 14, bordering the north side of the SROC property. A collection of apple trees exists south of the parking lot, and smaller gardens, including a weed plot, are scattered all around the SROC.
Since 1965, the area was usually under the direction of a supervisory board through the University of Minnesota Agricultural College. The board desired to maintain the arboretum as an informal trial, with very little maintenance and no thinning of the densely planted trees. In 2010, after years of no direction from any active board, SROC leadership and staff determined that thinning of volunteer seedlings and crowded, dead, or undesirable trees should be undertaken. We have set forth to renovate the Arboretum in an effort to make it an aesthetic place to view interesting trees from diverse plant families. This includes planting a few new species in open areas. We will continue to maintain the Arboretum as an informal place to view interesting trees from diverse plant families, but we hope our endeavor will make it more beautiful.