November 27, 2007

How to Move a Tree

When I designed my enclosed boxwood room, it was obvious that certain trees were in the way and needed to be removed.  These included two lovely Chinese Elms that I had planted two years ago on either side of the front door of the building I call the Summer House.  You may be wondering how one goes about moving such a large tree.  Well, with a little manpower and the right equipment, it really isn’t so difficult.  George Bridge of Acorn Farm, who provided the wonderful boxwood explained how it’s done.

To determine where to start digging, George allows ten-inches for every inch of tree trunk diameter.  So if the diameter of the tree is eight inches, for example, he will measure a circle eighty inches across.  George’s men then begin digging around the tree using shovels and saws to cut through the lateral roots.  The lateral roots are what radiate out horizontally, helping to stabilize the tree.  Once these are severed cleanly, a small backhoe is brought in to speed up the process.  As the root ball takes shape, the workers begin wrapping the ball with burlap and securing it with twine.  The burlap helps to keep the soil intact around the roots.  As the digging continues, the ball is tapered in and wrapped some more.

Eventually, when the digging and wrapping is complete, another machine called a Hi-Lo is enlisted.  It is equipped with big straps and a chain that is secured around the root ball.  The Hi-Lo then hoists the tree up and out of the hole and moves it to another location.  The Chinese Elms were relocated to the side of the Summer House, where I think they will adjust nicely.      

Chinese Elms in the process of being dug for relocation

Small backhoe at work

In the process of wrapping the root ball with burlap

The Hi-Lo lifting out the elm

Placing the elm in its newest and hopefully, final home