Wilbur D. May Arboretum & Botanical Garden

Arboretum Logo

Fall Color at the May Arboretum
The Wilbur D. May Arboretum and Botanical Garden is 23 acres with 13 of it serving as living plant museum with over 4,000 native and adaptive plant species on display. It is located in a transitional zone between the Sierra Nevada Mountains and the Great Basin Desert. The garden averages only 4 to 8 inches of precipitation annually, which comes in the form of rain or snow. A short growing season, less than 120 days, and at an elevation of 4,600 feet, the gardens' daily temperatures can fluctuate 40 degrees or more in a single day! Only a few plants can survive these conditions without additional care and maintenance. The Arboretum's mission is education, research, conservation, and to demonstrate how introduced plant species and native plants grow in a high desert environment. The Wilbur D. May Arboretum & Botanical Garden is a member of the American Public Garden Association (APGA) and a certified Level II Arboretum through the Arb Net Program administered by the Morton Arboretum of Registered Arboreta, Lisle, IL. 
Member Since 2005
Native garden

The final stage of the fencing project, Phase  IV, is nearly complete. The first three stages were funded by a generous donation from the May Foundation and the final phase, Phase IV by an anonymous donor. The primary purpose of the fence is to protect and preserve the collection's diversity, assets, trees, gardens and water features for future generations. Arboretum gates will remain open during regular park hours.  Also this past season, many of our mature oak and maple trees were pruned and thinned, thanks to the May Foundation. "Kristen's Garden" will receive an upgrade with plans to transform the aging garden into an interpretative "shade garden". Funding for the project were made possible by a generous donation from the May Arboretum Society.  A new greenhouse will be added to the arboretum this year. Construction of the 3,500 sq. ft greenhouse will begin in 2017 . Funding was made possible by Washoe County and a generous donation from the Garden Gate Club.


HOURS OF OPERATION: The Arboretum & Botanical Garden is open during regular park hours, year-round.


GETTING HERE: We are located within Rancho San Rafael Regional Park, 1595 N. Sierra Street, Reno, NV 89503.
Office phone number (775) 785-4153
Horticulturist: Bill Carlos, M.S., bcarlos@washoecounty.us 
Horticulture Assistant: Phil Brazier, ISA Certified Arborist pbrazier@washoecounty.us 
Maintenance Worker II:Bradon Franklin, ISA Certified Arborist