Piñon-Juniper Woodland

Piñon-Juniper Woodland2018-08-29T13:20:53+00:00

Photo by Cristina Salvador

In 2017 additional 3.25 acres from the State of New Mexico was leased for development of Piñon-Juniper Woodland (PJW) on Museum Hill. This increases the Santa Fe Botanical Garden site to 18.5 total acres currently on Museum Hill (15.25 acres in 2016).

This 3.25-acre property is directly adjacent to Ojos y Manos and recently came to us by way of a long-term lease with the State. The purpose of the new phase is to preserve this pristine woodland ecosystem and share it with the public through innovative interpretive graphics and programs. There will be handicap accessible paths and extensive woodland trails with numerous benches to encourage lingering in this beautiful setting with lovely distant views. The Piñon-Juniper Woodland is scheduled to open in 2019.

First steps will be laying out the main ADA trail and woodland trails for this new garden area. This important move allows staff to tour the new area and show bench locations to donors who will help fund the Woodland.


  • 2018 – Working with two companies to layout main ADA trails
  • 2019 – Planning and interpretive plan development continues, no heavy construction on entrance
  • 2019 – Complete first section PJW and open to public.

If you are interested in supporting PJW please contact Clayton Bass, President and CEO at clayton@santafebotanicalgarden.org. Many thanks for considering this opportunity and remember gifts of all sizes are important.

Piñon-Juniper Woodland definition

  • Allred, K.W. and R.D. Ivey. 2012. Flora Neomexicana III: An Illustrated Identification Manual.

This is the elemental coniferous woodland type in New Mexico, with numerous associates and sub-types. Associations with Artemisia and Quercus are particularly noticeable, so they are treated above. Piñon will occupy the upper, more moist, zones of the vegetation type, with juniper at the lower, more arid, zones, with the species intermingling between. The predominant piñon is Pinus edulis, and the predominant juniper is Juniperus monosperma. Bouteloua gracilis is the common understory grass species. In the bootheel, Pinus edulis may be replaced by Pinus cembroides. Alternative juniper dominants will be Juniperus scopulorum in the northern regions, Juniperus pinchotii to the east, Juniperus coahulensis to the south near the deserts, and Juniperus deppeana to the west in the mountains. Other common shrubs in the piñon-juniper woodland include Atriplex canescens, Berberis haematocarpa, Cercocarpus montanus, Ericameria (Chrysothamnus) nauseosa, Fendlera rupicola, Garrya wrightii, Philadelphus microphyllus, and Robinia neomexicana. As expected, common grasses include species of Achnatherum, Aristida, Bouteloua, Eragrostis, Muhlenbergia, and Piptochaetium fimbriatum under the piñon. Forbs are many and diverse.

The Piñon-Juniper Woodland will also contain a kids’ area where children can come year-round to play and learn in nature. The kids’ area was designed by Laurel McIntyre for her Girl Scout Gold Award Project in 2018. The area includes a dirt pit for digging, branches for fort building, tree stumps turned into checkerboards, logs for balancing, a fence as a frame for a nature loom, a fairy village, and a “Take a Book, Leave a Book” library. All the features are handmade and nearly all of them were made with materials sourced from nature. The intent of the area is to help kids feel comfortable, learn, and be creative outside.