Trees have been grown at Exbury for hundreds of years. Some of the earliest cultivated trees at Exbury date back to 1729, a large Cedar of Lebanon (Cedrus libani) planted by the Mitford family can be found in Home Wood below the House in the Glade. Exotic trees were further added by Lord Forster from 1860 and include the large Redwood tree (Sequoiadendron giganteum) in the Glade. When Lionel de Rothschild purchased the estate in 1919, he had a good base on which to build one of the most impressive woodland gardens in the British Isles. He added many species new to cultivation from sponsored plant hunters like George Forrest, Harold comber and Frank Kingdon-Ward. His work was carried on after his death in 1942 by his son Edmund, and for the next sixy years he added greatly to the collection.
In 2007, the gardens gained National Collection status for the genus Nyssa and Oxydendrum. In 1996, Exbury became a Charitable Trust and today under the guidance of the Board of Directors, Exbury continues to manage and plant new specimens ensuring that this world-famous garden is amongst the finest arboretums in the country.