Hollywood Cemetery is best known as the final resting place for Presidents James Monroe and John Tyler. What most people do not know is that Hollywood Cemetery also contains some of the best examples of native trees in the Commonwealth of Virginia. Although they are located in a cemetery, these historic trees are alive and well and shade the grave sites of many famous notables.

Hollywood Cemetery was designed in 1847 in a rural garden style to escape the grid-like monotony of city cemeteries. A major feature of the cemetery is its many stately trees that were left untouched by landscape designer John Notman. Garden cemeteries were designed with the living in mind and meant to be a haven for people to escape the city and enjoy a peaceful setting. Hollywood Cemetery's paths wind over 135 acres – through valleys, over hills and beneath stately tulip poplars and white oaks. There are over 2,000 trees in the cemetery today; many of which predate the cemetery.

Some of the outstanding examples include the largest tree in the cemetery, a 78” DBH Tulip Popular, a 140’ tall Bald Cypress and, the most beautiful tree, a 45” DBH Black Gum in the middle of the cemetery, a showstopper in the fall.

Caring for Hollywood's Trees

Caring for Hollywood Cemetery’s trees is a family tradition for Van Yahres Tree Company. For four generations, the family-owned company has tended Hollywood Cemetery’s trees, starting in 1919 with the company’s founder, George Van Yahres.

Van Yahres tree company played an essential part in Hollywood’s successful designation as an arboretum, carefully digitizing the paper records of Hollywood’s 2,000+ trees. The tree digitization program, part of the Environmental Stewardship Project that was funded by the generosity of the Parsons Foundation, Dominion Energy Charitable Foundation, and the Richard S. Reynolds Foundation, allowed Van Yahres to document each of the cemetery’s trees and record and schedule their maintenance needs.

Today, the company plays a vital role in the preservation of Hollywood’s trees. The cemetery’s tree maintenance program includes pruning, nutritional supplements, and, for the cemetery’s oldest and most important trees, known as monarchs, lightning protection.

Hollywood Cemetery was named a recognized arboretum with the ArbNet Arboretum Accreditation Program in 2017.

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