The Lucky Gardener


Transplanting A Giant
November 9, 2011, 12:12
Filed under: fallen trees, inspiration, storm damage

In my landscape design/build firm, refurbishing a client’s landscape occasionally involves removing well-established specimen trees. Frequently, the client will offer us the tree in exchange for what they imagine will be a huge discount off of the job price. Invariably, they’d heard wildly exaggerated stories of the value of the tree and images of 4-figure savings dance around their heads. Ninety-nine and seven-eighths percent of the time, we can’t move, or aren’t interested in, the tree. When we were offered the Japanese Split-leaf Maple pictured below, however, it was too good to pass up – especially when we knew exactly where to put it… OUR garden!

Always a risky venture, the decision was made to commit the time and resources required to move the mature specimen.

Early one morning, four men set out to begin the transplanting process – equipped with truck, excavator  machine, trailer, shovels, burlap, baling string, hoisting straps, peat moss and fertilizer.

Extracting the fifteen-foot wide tree from the ground required every tool they brought to the site, including the horticultural knowledge and delicate maneuvering skills each man had acquired through years of experience.

Once successfully separated from its native soil and loaded on the trailer, the operation shifted to prepare the spot where the tree would spend the rest of its (hopefully) long life. The following slideshow and video chronicle the final phase of the project.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.



Día de los muertos…de las plantas: A Pre-Halloween Trick

In most parts of the United States, our days leading up to Halloween can be busy hanging ghoulish decorations, carving pumpkins and perfecting costumes. This year, though, if you live anywhere in the Northeastern US, such plans were set askew by a freakish snowstorm that blasted its way up the Atlantic Coast just two days before ‘tricksters’ were to swindle ‘treaters’ out of their candy.

Nearly one foot of snow fell here in Nyack. The weather event came so early in the autumn season that most trees had yet to complete their end of year leaf-drop. As a result, gravity’s pressure on increasingly snow-laden leaves began to quickly and violently detach limbs from trees and trees from soil.

Looking out at the tops of trees swaying in the strong winds, I heard dozens of loud cracks, followed by ‘smoke-like’ puffs of snow, then finally definitive crashes of wood hitting the ground.

Magnolia, Bradford Pear, Purple Plum and Tulip trees seemed to be the most affected, though no species was uniformly spared.

Many old-growth trees and established landscapes were destroyed – a loss of plant life much worse than had resulted from any hurricane or ice storm I can remember.

The aftermath looked like a tornado. A Bradford Pear, about thirty feet tall, was felled in perfect symmetry, as the following pictures show.

In many countries, Halloween is not so much about candy, but rather for remembering family and friends that have died. Certainly, the massive loss of trees caused by this storm qualifies a new type of celebration for El Dia de Los Muertos, the Day of the Dead.