Cape Peninsula & Boland
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Nieuwe Steenberg – Extreme relocation challenge

1st of 10 mature Platanus trees to be relocated at Nieuwe Steenberg

Size 14 x 8 meter
Weight 7 ton
Root ball 2.3m diameter

Challenge Only 2.5 m space allowed between the centre of the stem and a high voltage utility line at 8 metres above the ground. The relocation has to be done with the trees still in full leaf, and due to excavations on the western side, staking anchorage is only possible from the side facing the ESKOM lines.

This is the step by step technical story of how we did it…

1. Lifting of tree from position of origin. Crane trucks in position one of leg one of the relocation. Joint lifting and manipulation by 28- and 38-tonner cranes. Combined lifting from underneath the root ball as well as on the tree. Note the relatively flat side (the natural flatter side of the crown has been reduced further by some tree surgery), to face the high voltage utility lines. No topping of branches.

2. Cranes in position one and tree being lifted from excavation hole. Cranes working in tandem. Very skilful coordination between the crane movements required. Tree will be put down at intermediate position in order for the cranes to reposition to position two.

3. Cranes have moved to position two. Staff are re-attaching the lifting rigging to the cranes.

4. Tree lifted from position two and hoisted by the two cranes across the second leg to the new planting position of the tree. Note how the 5.5 ton root ball stays perfectly intact. This is, amongst other, achieved by means of weight proportional lifting from both the root ball (+- 80%) as well as the tree itself (+-20%).

5. Tree being lowered into the planting hole. Note root ball has been bole and bur-lapped by making use of materials that comply with European and American standards.

6. Root ball landing has to be prepared at an inclination in order for the (slightly altered) tree canopy to be upright and well balanced in its new planting position.

7. Tree installed at its final tilt and rotation in its new location. ESKOM high voltage lines only 3m behind the centre of the stem of the tree.


For more about relocation and rescue, click here



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