Manual of Business Procedures - Plant Protection Statement

Office of the Curator, W. J. Beal Botanical Garden and Campus Arboretum

Official statement regarding plant protection on the MSU Campus

The entire Michigan State University campus is considered an Arboretum and all plants growing on the MSU campus are protected under Michigan State University Ordinance 24.01 which simply states; “No person shall break or cut branches or flowers or fruit, or otherwise damage or mutilate any tree, shrub, herbaceous plant, or flower upon property governed by the Board of Trustees, or remove from the same any identification tag or sign.” 

As part of Ordinance 24.01, nothing is to be attached or affixed to any tree on campus for any reason other than to serve an officially approved academic function associated with research and/or teaching. Permits are necessary for sanctioned exceptions to this Ordinance such as removing material from a tree or shrub for classroom or research purposes. Permits may be obtained by a making a request to the Director of the W. J. Beal Botanical Garden and MSU Campus Arboretum, or from the Campus Natural Areas Committee, where appropriate.

Therefore, due to the potential damage attachments of any sort can impart to the trees, shrubs or plants, attachments are strictly prohibited and their removal enforced. This includes not locking bicycles or any other portable devices to trees; not tying posters, flags, kites, banners, tents or tarps to trees; not affixing via string, rope, twine, cordage, wire, staples, cable ties, tape, nails, screws or any other type of fastener any sort of signs, posters, bulletins or any other type of flier to trees; no tree climbing either with or without ropes (unless conducted under the supervision of the Campus Arborist and tree crew as part of tree maintenance and/or safety training); and no slacklining or affixing hammocks, swings, or bird feeders.


Dr. Alan Prather

Associate Professor of Plant Biology

Director, MSU Herbarium

Interim Director, W.J. Beal Botanical Garden and MSU Campus Arboretum


Jerry Wahl

Campus Arborist

Landscape Services

MSU Infrastructure Planning and Facilities