The D.A. Murphy Panhandle Arboretum

The D.A. Murphy Panhandle Arboretum, an affiliate site of the Nebraska Statewide Arboretum, is 40 acres of beautifully landscaped grounds and research plots at the Panhandle Research and Extension Center. The Arboretum is an important teaching and demonstration tool in the research, teaching and extension mission of the Center.

The Arboretum is unique in that it is a successful example of a pleasant blending of both hi-intensity and lo-intensity landscaping. Plant materials are grouped to develop a series of distinct areas that are inviting to the visitor and yet require limited maintenance. It also is an excellent example of the diversity in plant flora that can be successfully established and grown in this high plains region.

Points of interest include the David Nuland Ground Cover Collection, the Trails West Iris Collection, the Diana Harms Cottonwood Collection, the Panhandle Prairie Transition site and the many tree and woody plant groves. Follow the self-guided tour to insure that you don't miss any of the special features.

The Arboretum is open to the public every day of the week, all year long.

Our History

The Arboretum was established in January 1984 as the University of Nebraska Panhandle Arboretum. It was dedicated and formally recognized as an affiliate site of the Nebraska Statewide Arboretum in August 1985. In 1987, the Arboretum was awarded a generous endowment by the estate of D.A. Murphy, president of the L.B. Murphy Co. Department Stores, a third-generation retailer and managed several stores in Nebraska and Wyoming. Murphy, a graduate of the University of Nebraska, was a powerful force in the Panhandle for many years. Business demands upon his time were endless; however he still managed to take the time to develop a great appreciation of nature. His gift to the Arboretum assures in perpetuity his positive impact on nature in the Scottsbluff/Gering area. On April 4, 1997, the Nebraska Statewide Arboretum renewed the affiliation of the University of Nebraska D.A. Murphy Panhandle Arboretum as a Master Arboretum.

Our Future

The D.A. Murphy Panhandle Arboretum is designed to allow for future development of named collections. Sites are identified, plans are drawn and tree and shrub species are selected. Donors, however, are still needed to support the cost of plant material for these collections.


The mission of the University of Nebraska D.A. Murphy Panhandle Arboretum is to develop and demonstrate a sustainable, appropriate landscape at the University of Nebraska Complex; and to improve the quality of life for the people of the Panhandle by serving as an educational and motivational resource.


The D.A. Murphy Panhandle Arboretum is one of a network of affiliated sites that together constitute the Nebraska Statewide Arboretum. Each affiliate of this unique organization has accepted the challenge of developing collections and programs that meet local needs, while at the same time, cooperating with NSA on its mission to enhance the culture and beauty of all Nebraska.

In keeping with the mission of the Panhandle Research and Extension Center, the D.A. Murphy Arboretum exists as an educational and inspirational resource for the entire Panhandle region. Emphasis is placed on horticulture and landscape education, demonstration and beautification.

This master plan was created to help guide development and management of the D.A. Murphy Arboretum into the foreseeable future. It describes what the Arboretum is and identifies a shared vision of what it might become. A clear vision is important if the Arboretum is going to achieve its potential while competing for scarce resources. The plan is purposefully kept flexible to adapt to future changes in programming and site development needs on both the local and statewide level.