The client required a mature old English Oak tree to be moved to make way for development on their property. They did not want to cut the tree down and therefore approached Trees SA to see if relocation was possible. The tree had to be moved by 8m on their property.
Trees SA did a site visit and found that the job would be possible, even though many renowned landscaping professionals believed that it wouldn’t. The size of the tree on relocation day was 12m tall, stem diameter 40cm and crown of 10m wide.
Process required to relocate the mature Quercus rubor (English oak) approximately by 8 meters:
Phase 1: Dig rootball by hand and attach a specialized Newman frame which ensures zero distortion to the rootball.
Phase 2: Some tree surgery (and removal) under the personal supervision of Dag Willems was required. The surgery did not alter the general structure or character of the crown. Rather it was a light skillful thinning of the crown that reduced the foliage density by about 30 to 40% in order to make the relocation viable. Some crown reduction was required in order for the tree to fit into the available space in close proximity to the neighboring oak trees .
Phase 3: Relocate. Two crane trucks were required to move the tree – The main crane truck was an 11-meter-long 4 axel 8×8 specialized unit. The assisting crane truck was a 7-meter-long two axel 4×4 crane truck. Custom pedestrian staking was installed: A wooden pole structure inserted approximately 1.3 meter into the ground and constructed around the tree extending a maximum of 1.2 meter from the stem of the tree
Phase 4: Tree monitoring monthly for 12 months.
The tree was probably the biggest English Oak to ever have been relocated in South Africa at that time. It was 12m tall, 40cm stem diameter and 10m wide crown. For an English Oak of that size, it was regarded as impossible to relocate by many landscaping professionals.
What made this project a most outstanding achievement, was the fact that the tree was in full budding season at the time of relocation!
Although an extra-large rootball containing 5 cubic meters of soil was captured, the volume of roots comprised only 10% of the tree’s root volume pre-relocation.
Careful tree monitoring for 12 months post installation was required to ensure the survival of the tree and success of the relocation.
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